A/N: Okay, now we can really get this party started! We started off on a fairly dark note, but the question it brings up is, 'How did this character get there?' Well, we gotta start at the beginning if we want all the answers, so here you go!
Read, review, and most importantly, enjoy!
P.S. I will address all reviews left on this site by April 24 on my YouTube channel with the next response video/dramatic reading that goes up on the 25th. If you want early access to the next chapter of this story in addition to answers for your questions, go check it out next week!
Phase 1: Chapter 1
"Can you believe that we're here?"
"I know, right?!"
"Hero course, here we come!"
These and several other exclamations were being echoed by the chattering students standing together outside of an area known as Training Ground C. Why wouldn't they be? After all, they, out of thousands of students in Japan, had been chosen to pit themselves against the rigorous acceptance regime of Ultra Academy High- the Hero Academia. Anyone who made it through the testing and was accepted into the school were promised a higher-than-average chance at becoming Pro Heroes one day.
And what child didn't want a chance to become a super hero?
Among those gathered there for the combat test that day was a young man named Kurai. Dressed in a t-shirt and some running pants, standing at average height with brown eyes and wearing short black hair, he didn't look like anything special, especially when surrounded by people with more obvious and flashy quirks, but those that knew him from his time at the private Somei Academy knew that he was marked for high rankings in the hero world someday. The only other student that garnered as much at attention at his school for his abilities and intellect was Tenya Iida, the younger brother of the pro hero, Ingenium. The two boys had a friendly rivalry between them, as they both aspired to become like the men they admired.
For Iida, it was his elder brother, of course. For Kurai, it was the hero Gang Orca, which surprised many people who learned the fact. Sure, he had recently risen to the number ten spot among the rankings of pro heroes, but he hardly seemed an ideal role model for an aspiring young man like himself. When asked why he admired the bizarre-looking hero, Kurai would simply reply that he admired a man who, despite appearing every bit as evil as the people he often fought, decided to do something worthwhile with his life, instead of conforming to society's assumptions about him.
"Hello there!" a girl with pink skin and horns sprouting out her head said as she approached Kurai, snapping him out of his reverie. "You excited about this, or what?"
"Or what, I think," Kurai replied with an easy laugh, despite being a little put off by the girl's eyes, which were black where they ought to be white, and surrounding yellow irises. "I know we've been given a grand opportunity and all, but getting excited about it won't do me much good if I don't pass, right?"
"Sheesh, ever heard of optimism?" the girl asked him, though she kept up her own grin. "I don't think it ever really hurt anyone."
"Sorry, I have a bad habit of being kind of a downer," he chuckled, scratching his head nervously. "Or so say my friends."
"Well, maybe once we get into this school, it'll teach you how to be a little bit more optimistic!" the pink girl said, unabashed. "What's your name, guy? I'm Mina Ashido."
"Kurai Hikari," the boy answered. "What kind of quirk did you bring with you? If you don't mind me asking, that is."
"Acid," she said proudly, holding out a finger, off of which fell a drop of pale green liquid that disintegrated the speck of pavement that it touched. "I've got way more than that, of course, but I don't wanna accidentally turn somebody into a puddle, ya know? How 'bout you? What kinda guns are you packing?"
"OKAY, BOYS AND GIRLS!" An obnoxiously loud voice blasted out of a speaker system, belonging to one Present Mic. "RUNRUNRUNRUN! TIME'S WASTING, AND YOU'VE GOT ONLY TEN MINUTES! THERE ARE NO COUNTDOWNS IN REAL LIFE- OFF YOU GO!"
Kurai was already gone after Present Mic had told them to run, having noticed the doors to the enclosed city simulation sliding open. He wasn't the only one, but he managed to get ahead of the pack for the most part. Mina, he was interested to see, was keeping up with him by secreting her acid out of her feet, allowing her to slide across the ground faster than most people could run.
"See ya after the practical!" she laughed as she took off down a side street. "I still wanna know what your quirk does!"
He grinned to himself as she left his side, then refocused on his surroundings. Okay, robot villains, he thought. Shouldn't be too difficult, really. As if in response to his thoughts, a robot twice as tall as he was shot out from an alley and swiveled its head so that a single eye locked onto him. On several plates of its body, he noticed the number 'one', indicating its point value.
"Hi," he smiled again. Holding out his right hand so that his palm faced the droid, he engaged his quirk, sending forth a small yellow energy bolt that blasted his target's head clean off, leaving the rest of the body to collapse in heap. "Bye."
Glancing around him, he thought, Need a better vantage point than street level. Engaging his quirk again, he used the energy it granted him to leap twelve stories high and land lightly on the roof he had aimed for.
From there, he had a much better view of the simulated city in which many robots could be seen to be rampaging and destroying buildings as often as targeting students. Okay… he thought, composing himself before raising both of his hands. Bolts of energy flew out by the dozens at his command, taking down robot after robot, all of them worth one to three points.
Is this really the best they could come up with? He thought with a frown. He had been expecting more of a challenge in which to test himself. Then again, he reasoned that his quirk was a great deal more powerful than even some pro heroes out in the field right now. Not everyone could be held to the same standard as him.
He had no idea how many points he needed to pass, so he just kept blasting away, making sure to do as little damage to his surroundings as possible. He also tried to avoid aiming at robots being taken down by other students, as he did not want to accidentally strike one of them.
This thing only lasts ten minutes, he thought as he blinked a few times after demolishing a trio of robots that had noticed and were headed right for him. I can control myself for that long.
No sooner than the thought had crossed his mind did he detect a rumble in the ground. Looking over to the east, he noticed several buildings were collapsing, as if being shoved aside from something within the cloud of debris that had sprung up. That's more like it, he thought as a feral grin split his face.
Taking a running start, he began to leap from rooftop to rooftop, heading for the collapsing buildings, demolishing any droid that he came across as he went. Admittedly, there weren't very many left at this time- he had heard Present Mic call out that there were only three minutes to go- but he knew that every point counted toward him getting into the academy. I wonder what this will be worth?
Then out of the dust finally emerged a gargantuan robot, even taller than the buildings Kurai had been using to get there. There were no markings to indicate its point value, which could only mean… That thing is the zero-pointer? He thought with a deep frown. The hardest one to beat, and it's worth nothing?
That didn't sit right with him. Maybe this is a test of logic? He thought quickly as the behemoth moved to break another building into billions of pieces. Maybe the judges monitoring want to know that their students are aware that there is a time to retreat just as much as there is a time to fight?
That seemed the most likely explanation, and it wasn't as though Kurai needed to prove anything- he had lost count of how many points he scored after forty-something. The logical thing for him to do would be to leave. So why does it feel like something else is still going on? He wondered.
"Let's take this thing down!" Kurai was surprised to see a group of five students standing in the streets in front of the building he had landed on. Leading them was a tall boy who had what looked to be fists made of stone. "We'll be all the teachers can talk about if we turn it into scrap!"
"Hey, wise guy!" Kurai called down, folding his arms. Once they all looked up to see him standing over them, he shouted, "That thing is worth zero points! You don't get anything for beating it, so even if you could, why bother?"
"Whaddya mean 'if we could?!'" The teenager shouted up at him. "The five of have taken down way harder stuff than that slow-moving scrap pile!" Despite his assertions, Kurai could see that his comrades were eyeing the approaching mech with nervousness.
"When?!" he demanded, incredulous. "When have you ever fought something more dangerous than a skyscraper-sized robot constructed by people who are testing potential heroes?! Stop trying to have a dick-measuring competition and leave that thing alone!"
"Try and stop us!" the other boy shouted back before turning to face the oncoming enemy.
"ONE MINUTE REMAINING!" Present Mic boomed.
"…I can't believe I'm doing this," Kurai muttered as he watched three of the students stumble and fall as soon as the ground in front of them cracked and shifted. Their leader and one of his comrades kept going, heedless of their friend's plight. Bracing himself, he leaped off the roof, using the energy that he controlled to reinforce his legs and arms, hitting the pavement and rolling to help divert some of the momentum that would have otherwise injured him.
Even so, he sprained one of his ankles and scraped the skin on his bared arms. Limping into a standing position, he moved to help one of the boys that had fallen get on his feet. "Come on," he grunted as he got him up. "Get out of here, take your friends. Keep the points you've got, and be thankful you didn't get squished by a falling boulder." So saying, he raised his hand upward and blasted a human-sized piece of concrete to powder before it could fall on one of them.
"Th-Thanks," the boy said as he went and moved away from the approaching robot with his two friends.
"Morons," Kurai scowled as he noticed that the other two were using stones and some sort of warping quirk to try and snipe the robot's head from down below. "Hey!" he shouted at them, but to no avail. Either they were ignoring him or they couldn't hear him over the sound of the mech destroying everything it touched.
He weighed his options swiftly. He could feel his pulse already moving at a quicker pace than normal, and his hands were shaking as he tried to control his breathing. Any further use of his quirk…
I don't owe these guys anything, he thought, but his feet refused to move. What is wrong with me?! I should be leaving! As he stood there, warring within himself, the robot reached down with one house-sized arm to crush the two students, who began to backpedal, finally seeming to realize their mistake.
Kurai bared his teeth and gave into his primal desire, raising both of his hands to face the robot and letting the energy he had been suppressing run wild, exiting his palms and uniting to form one shining beam that sheared through the massive arm like it wasn't there, then hit the chest and exploded in a brilliant flash of heat and light. The result could be heard and seen throughout the entire simulation, nearly drowning out Present Mic's announcement that time was up.
When the debris settled, Kurai stood where he had launched his energy blast, shaking and panting. His vision was tinted red and he was almost growling out his breaths as he stood before the smoldering ruins of the droid.
"Hey, jerkoff!" the boy with the stone quirk shouted as he emerged from the dust. "Thanks for stealing our chance to stand out!" He crashed his stone gauntlets together with an unmistakable intent.
"Don't…" Kurai heaved as he turned away from the other boy. "Don't come near me."
"Or else what, you'll hit me with a laser, too?" the student snorted. "Nah, man. No one could do that without hitting some kinda limit on their quirk. You're all used up, while I've got plenty to give."
"Please…" Kurai growled, almost sounding as though he were in pain. "Don't…"
"Oh, I think I will," the other boy snapped as he used his quirk to shift the concrete around Kurai's feet to bind him in place. "The teachers ain't watching now that the test is over. Ironic, right? The time you'll be calling for a hero, and no one will hear you."
"Hey, c'mon Matsuda," the other student's friend protested. "We got enough points to pass. Besides, I think this guy might have just saved us-"
"He made us look like idiots!" Matsuda shouted, causing Kurai and the other boy to both flinch. "He's gotta pay for that!" He raised a stone-enclosed fist to strike Kurai's back.
Before he could begin the downward motion, though, a glob of some green-gray substance hit the gauntlet and began to eat through it, causing Matsuda to swear and fling the rocks away from himself. "The hell?!" he demanded before turning around with wild eyes.
A few meters away stood Mina, looking a little scared, but determined not to leave. "That's enough, guys," she said, a bit of a quaver in her voice. "The practical is over now. W-We don't need to be competing anymore."
"No one asked you, pinkie," Matsuda snarled, tearing rocks out of the ground with a flick of his thoughts to conjure another gauntlet. "Now get the hell outta here before I get ugly with you."
"That can't be very difficult," Kurai chuckled, feeling his pulse beginning to settle a little. "What with that thin-crust pizza you call a face? How do you not be ugly?" Matsuda, it has to be admitted, did sport a fairly bad acne problem.
Reddening even further, Matsuda stormed over to where Kurai stood, bellowing, "Maybe you'll think twice about mocking me once I've given your stupid face a redo!"
"A redo? Really?" Kurai taunted him as they came face-to-enraged face. "That was your best comeback?" Matsuda drew his fist back, so his would-be victim clicked his tongue and said, "I really wouldn't do that right now."
"Why's that?" Matsuda sneered. "If pinkie interferes again, I'll give her some of the same I'm about to give you."
"I do hope you're only planning on giving out hugs then, because if this is what it looks like, you will be facing some very serious consequences, young man." A new voice came onto the scene, this one sounding like gravel mashing with concrete in a bass tone. Matsuda whirled around to see Mina standing a little behind and to the side of what looked like a living cement block given a rough human shape.
"Hello there, mister Cementoss," Kurai said with a strained smile. "Big fan of your work- loved that capture you managed back in February."
"Not often I meet a fan of mine," the blocky hero said with a smile toward the young man. Kneeling, he touched the street and sent forth a pulse of energy that undid the stone bindings on the student, who moved quickly out of the reach of Matsuda's stone gauntlets.
"I've some appreciation for the underdog heroes," Kurai said as he walked briskly over to stand next to the teacher. "Er, for lack of a better term. Sorry, there was probably a way better way to phrase that."
"No offense taken here," Cementoss chuckled. Reaffixing his attention on Matsuda, the pro hero rumbled, "Now then, young man, I suggest you put those down right now."
To his credit, Matsuda did as he was told. He did, however try to justify his actions, saying, "Look, mister Cementoss, I know how this looks, but that guy, he stole our kill!"
"He didn't steal anything," Cementoss quickly asserted. "That robot was worth no points, which you would know if you had paid any kind of attention during the orientation. In fact, he probably did you a favor by stepping in. Those robots are programmed not to kill, but they can still cause all manner of serious injury. Your quirk was not suited for taking it on, yet you insisted on fighting it anyway. That was very foolish, and will reflect poorly on your application to this academy, not to mention that you nearly attacked two students."
Matsuda reddened fiercely with embarrassment and shame, but he set his jaw and refused to concede to the teacher's lecture. "But he-"
"Unless you wish to face an outright rejection here and now, I suggest you move along and keep away from these students," Cementoss said firmly. Matsuda made a rude gesture toward Mina and Kurai before turning around and walking away, muttering darkly to himself.
"Here's to hoping we don't end up in the same class as that guy," Mina laughed nervously, wiping sweat from her brow.
"You okay?" Kurai asked, looking her over for any injuries.
"Yeah, just a little rattled," she laughed hoarsely. "Those robots were a lot more than I was expecting, which I guess is my fault. I'd shoulda known U.A. would test us this hard."
"I'm glad that the two of you are alright," Cementoss said after a slight pause in their conversation. "From what I could see in the observation room, you two did quite well, especially you, young man."
"Oh, uh, thanks," the boy said, reddening a little with embarrassment. "I just went with my gut for the most part."
"Then I'd say you have better instincts than about a dozen pros I could name," the blocky hero chuckled. "Go on back to the main gate, both of you. I do hope I get to see you again in one of my classes."
"Thank you, sir," Kurai said with a respectful bow, which Mina immediately mimicked.
As they left the area, Mina turned to Kurai and said, "You never did get around to telling me what your quirk was."
"Heh, I guess not," he grinned, scratching his hair as he looked at the ground in front of him. "My quirk is called 'Energon'. It allows my body to produce huge amounts of energy that I can either channel into my limbs when I fight to enhance my strength and speed, or in energy blasts that pack a real punch."
"Wow!" Mina exclaimed animatedly, causing him to redden a little with embarrassment. "That quirk has gotta be so awesome! I'll bet you took out a bunch of those robots!"
"I, uh… yeah," he said sheepishly as she stared at him with wide, attentive eyes. "I honestly lost count of how many I got…"
"Seriously?!" she squealed, a great deal more excited than he expected her to be.
"Yes," he nodded. "What about you? What kind of score did you get?"
"I think it was forty-eight, though I might have confused a couple of 'em while I was running around," she confessed. "Still, I feel pretty confident about my chances when it came to the practical exam. The written part, though… blech!" She made an exaggerated face.
"Don't like tests on paper, huh?" Kurai chuckled. "Me neither, but I think I did fine on it. Good enough to get in, anyway."
"Well, aren't you all confident?" she giggled, giving him a light shove on the arm.
"An old friend of mine keeps telling me I should be," he laughed again. "Though I suppose it's easier to be once the test is over, right?"
"Not me," Mina replied. "The suspense is gonna kill me until I get my results!"
A week later, Kurai and his family were gathered at the Iida's residence, both of their children having received letters from the offices at U.A. High. Even Tenya's older brother, Tensei, was present, having been able to take an afternoon off for once.
With Kurai were his parents and his younger brother, Akarui, who was about to start his last year of middle school. While Kurai had what many would consider a great power, his younger brother's quirk was also something quite special. The doctors called it 'Solar Intelligence', and it allowed his brother's mind to work at incredibly high speeds during the day. At age twelve, he took an IQ test at around noon and came out with a score of 294. During the night, however, his quirk mostly lost its effect, and he became of rather average intelligence.
Even so, it was an impressive power, one that could allow him to choose any number of paths in life when he got older. So far, he had expressed interest in becoming a bio-mechanical engineer, but who knew what else he might discover before he went off to college?
In any case, he and his parents were eager to discover the results of Kurai's test, as well as that of the younger Iida boy. So at the insistence of Tenya's mother, Kurai opened his letter first, and was surprised to find a holoprojecter inside of the envelope.
"That's new," he muttered, pushing the button that would begin the playback.
"Hello, Hikari! I am here to announce the results of your exams!" A booming voice startled the onlookers as a video began to play on the living room wall, though not nearly as much as who the voice belonged to.
"That's All Might!" Akarui exclaimed, his young eyes wide with delight. For indeed it was the number one hero, larger than life, smiling broadly, and dressed in a yellow business suit that barely contained his bulging muscles.
"That's right!" All Might continued, oblivious to their exclamations of surprise. "You're looking at the newest member of the U.A. faculty! From here on out, it will be my privilege to teach the next generation of heroes!"
"He's going to be a teacher at U.A.?!" Tenya burst out with a laugh. "Extraordinary!"
"Shh!" About a half-dozen people told him as they waited with baited breath to see what the man would say next.
"I'm sure you're dying to know how you did in your tests, and I'm dying to tell you, so let's get on with it!" All Might laughed, bringing grins to the faces of his audience. "Hikari Kurai, as you know, we receive many applicants each year, and select only those students that show the highest amount of promise to become Pro Heroes! In regards to your written exam, you passed! And with respectable scores, I might add!" His family cheered and clapped for a moment, then quieted as All Might began to speak again. "Now, for your practical exam…" The huge man grinned even more broadly and said, "As you know, there were points awarded for the villain robots you faced, and in that alone, you broke a record, scoring a whopping eighty-nine points!"
His family went ballistic, his brother giving him a hi-five, just in time for his mother to wrap him up in bear hug, followed by a simple handshake from his father, all while he was grinning broadly. As if he had expected there to be some kind of delay, All Might had paused for a few seconds, and now he spoke once again.
"Not only that, but there were other factors we did not reveal to you in the briefing, for reasons you'll understand in a moment!" the powerful superhero continued. "During the exam, a panel of judges observed students and awarded what we call 'Rescue Points' for heroic acts! After all, what good would a Hero Academy be if we did not look out for those who seek to protect and inspire others?"
"Wait, I…?" Kurai gaped, his mind flashing back to the zero-point robot that he had defeated in order to rescue the students that had been in over their heads.
"Because of your actions on the field of battle in saving those other pupils, you earned yourself a further forty-two rescue points!" All Might exclaimed. "Hikari Kurai, having set a new record for our entrance exam, you are now the most qualified out of all applying students to enter the courses of my Alma Mater!"
Taking a step forward, as if to approach the dumbstruck teen, All Might held out a hand and said in a warm tone, "Welcome, Kurai. You are now a part of the Hero Academia!" The video froze, and all was quiet in the mansion for a few moments.
Then Tenya stepped forward and said, "Well, I find myself caring little about my own prospects of entering the academy at this moment! Well done, Kurai!"
"Well done!" Tensei laughed as he moved to shake hands with his brother's friend. "I might have to have you and Iida both work at my agency as interns one of these days!"
"I won't say no to that," Kurai laughed, his head whirling. Turning to Tenya, he added, "How cool would that be? You and I working with the legendary Ingenium?" His friend laughed in response, merriment lighting up his face.
When things had settled down somewhat, they stopped and listened to Iida's results. Although he hadn't scored nearly as high as Kurai in the practical exam, his written test scores were nearly perfect, which also earned him high praise from All Might, who said that it took brains more than brawn to become one of the greats. At the end, when he was confirmed to also be accepted into U.A. High, both families celebrated loudly once more.
In the midst of this, Tensei Iida raised a glass and said, "To the future of heroes! May they be safe in the hands of my brother and his friend, Hikari Kurai!"
"To the future heroes!" everyone else echoed.
Kurai: Huh. I'm less... angry than I expected you'd make me.
Mataras: Like I said, you and I aren't all that much alike.
Deku: I mean, you both seem pretty confident in yourselves, and you don't take stuff from anyone...
Mataras: Are you talking about that idiot with the rock gloves? Pfft. I'd have blown his head off without thinking twice about it.
Kurai: And this is why I'm in the hero course, and you're the edgy anti-hero vigilante.
Kurai: Also, this seems to have very little to do with the prologue... How long until we get to the end of my story, as it were?
Kurai: Oh great, you're one of those guys.
Deku: Maybe we should move on to the next segment?
Mataras: Fine. As our readers can see, we've already got some familiar faces in the mix, which is set to alter the class dynamic- though by how much, only time will tell.
Kurai: Especially since I replaced #1~37 . Wait, what was that?!
Mataras: We do not speak of him. He is pointless, he is worthless, and he will not be appearing in this story, not even for a cameo.
Deku: T-That seems a little harsh...
Mataras: Have you met me?
Kurai: Not before today, no.
Mataras: Oh, right... Well, moving on. Join me on my YouTube channel next week for the second proper chapter of Your Hero Academia, plus my responses to the reviews that you guys have left so far!
Deku: And come back on the 2nd of May, 2020, for the same chapter here on this website!
Kurai: Now, enjoy the preview!
Mataras: Go Beyond!
Deku: Plus Ultra!
Next time on Your Hero Academia...
"If you wanna make the big leagues, you can't waste time on pointless parties," Aizawa replied without looking at them. "Here at U.A., we're not tethered to tradition. That means I get to run my class however I choose." There were some looks of dissent among the students, but no one was foolish enough to argue with him outright.
Turning around to face his class, Aizawa said, "You've all been taking standardized tests for most of your lives, unfortunately. The government is still trying to push the idea that all men are created equal- we're not. Someday, the learning systems in our country will realize that, but for now, I'll just have to correct their mistake. Hikari!" He called out the name suddenly, without any indication that he was going to ask for a volunteer.
"Er, present?" the boy said nervously as he stepped forward, aware of every eye that was on him.
Aizawa's gaze fell to rest directly on him, and he swallowed nervously as he felt himself being studied by his instructor. "You set a new record for the entrance exam," he stated, causing the boy to wince slightly as he heard several people behind him begin whispering interestedly. Then the man asked, "What was your longest throw with a softball in junior high?"
"Sixty-two? Sixty-three meters?" Kurai answered.
"Here," his teacher said, tossing him a large ball that looked as though it had been teched-out somehow. "Throw this, but use your quirk to get it to go as far as you can."
Kurai blinked at the ball a couple of times, then muttered, "Okay… Sure, I'll do that." Here's to hoping this thing can take the impact from my quirk.
As if sensing his concern, Aizawa added, "It's a lot more durable than it looks. Give it your all."
"Yes sir," Kurai nodded, feeling a little more confident now.
As he walked over to the pitching ring, he heard the blond boy from before muttering, "That guy set the new record? He looks even more boring than Deku. How's a small fry like him supposed to be the next number one?" His tone was laced with generous amounts of resentment that Kurai did not understand.
I haven't done anything to him, he thought with a frown as he stood in the circle. And who's 'Deku'? Taking a pitcher's stance, he thought, Doesn't matter. The only thing I need to focus on is keeping control.