Chapter 37: Lotus Mark

In the dead of night, two cars sped towards the old industrial center. They stopped in front of a warehouse, from one car exited the villain Twice and a young man with a beak-like mask from the other.

"So this is your place, how quaint" said the young man in an unimpressed tone

"SHUT UP! No! Sorry, No I'M NOT!"

The young man ignored Twice's ramblings as he continued towards the building. Fortunately, Twice still had the presence of mind to open it.

Inside the building the remainder of the League of Villains waited as the young man entered.

"So, who did you bring us today, Twice?" asked Magne

Shigaraki stepped forwards

"I know him. My master showed me a picture of him once. He is the young head of the Shie Hassaikai., Kai Chisaki. A Yakuza"

"A yakuza? What are they?" asked Toga who was still nursing her injured arm

"Allow me to explain" began Compress "back before quirks became a thing, the underground was run by a multitude of different groups, the Yakuza being among them. Nowadays though, most are relics barely scraping by. With the rise of heroes and especially All Might, organized crime became more or less dead"

"The shouldn't you be celebrating, yakuza boy?" asked Magne mockingly

"We indeed have reason to celebrate All Might's death, but not everything is about him anyways" said the young man in a measured toe "what is more important is the death of the Emperor of Darkness, All For One himself"

The change in mood was palpable as Shigaraki pushed himself off the wall and began stalking forward.

"So you know who my master is, then I assume you are here to join us?"

"Nothing so presumptuous. After all, while All For One didn't leave behind a clear heir, All Might most certainly did"

The atmosphere chilled.

They all knew whom they were talking about.

"Their, or should I say his recent actions have forced most of the usual investors in our type of business away, and his crackdowns have begun to hurt more and more criminal groups. It won't be long until they too will be forced in hiding" said the young man

His words were met with silence

"To that end, I propose a partnership between our two groups" he finally said

Shigaraki stalked forward

"You come here, refuse to acknowledge me as my master's successor and you still have the gall to propose a partnership?" he asked menacingly

The young man shrugged

"We don't know each other. We don't know each other's goals-"

"My goal is the destruction of hero society. To tear down all that All Might built and his brats along with it" said Shigaraki, cuttingly

"Well then, can you please tell me how do you plan on achieving such a mighty feat?"

"That's simple, I'll gather my army and crush anyone that stands in my way" blurted out Shigaraki

"So, in truth you have no plan then? And besides, how do you plan on taking down Rikudou himself. Not even All For One could defeat him, and he's still a boy. He still has room to grow and that's without taking into account his brother, whom All For One named One For All"

There was silence in the warehouse as Shigaraki finally reached up to scratch his neck

"We're done here. See him out"

"Think about what I've said. With your brand and my plan we could turn society upside-down"

-/-

It was nighttime in a small harbor in the north of Japan. A single small boat was approaching the dock in total darkness.

"This is it?" asked a middle-aged gangster with four arms

"This is it" confirmed the tattooed Chinese man standing next to him

"Good. It is, as always, a pleasure doing business with you" said the four-armed man as he handed the Triad member a black case

"And we with you. If I may, I must say that all this secrecy and security is a bit much, don't you think?"

The four-armed man growled at that

"I am sure you have a good reason for it" said the Triad, quickly backtracking "but the Demon and All Might are finally dead. And with all the chaos going around, I would have thought that security measures may have been a bit relaxed"

The four-armed man resumed his usual expression, if with a slight annoyance at the Triad member

"Usually they would be, but my client was adamant that whatever is in this case is too dangerous to fall into the hands of the heroes, Rikudou especially"

The Triad member was silent before mentally shrugging and depositing the silver briefcase in his other hand on the ground.

The head smuggler bent down and confirmed the payment just as the fishing boat docked

"That boat will take you several miles off the coast where a seaplane is waiting for you"

"Very well. Until we meet again, then?"

"Until we meet again"

As soon as the boat departed, the four-armed man breath a sigh of relief. Another job well done.

He called the sole number on the burner phone he was given

"It's done"

The ones on the other end, didn't even bother to respond as they closed the line. The man crushed the phone in his hand and tossed the remains in the water.

Just as he was about to head back, a strong arm snaked around his neck and covered his mouth and nose. Before he could react, a strong electric current coursed through his body and knocked him unconscious.

-/-

The smuggler's body fell limp to the ground. As I looked around, I could see that my shadow clones were mopping up the others in this smuggling gang and cataloging any and all evidence to their activities that they could find.

I was pretty fortunate to find out about this smuggling ring.

Ever since the… event, organized crime has seen a significant uptake. While it was true that there had been a surge of low-level crime that happened right after said event, that quickly went away as order was established. Despite the massive crater where Kamino used to be there has been enough of the status quo preserved so that society could get back on track fairly easily. Unfortunately, with All For One and All Might dead, the blocks put in place against organized crime were suddenly lifted. As a result, there has been an influx of gangs, new and old that have begun to try and profit from this.

Another shadow clone landed next to me and handed me a briefcase before he dispelled himself. I frowned at the newly received knowledge. It would seem that Overhaul's group was further along than expected if they have the pull required to hire such an experienced smuggling gang. And to deal with the Triad no less.

Japanese criminal culture was isolationist to a great degree. They were against interfering with the outside world more than they absolutely needed to, but they were also fiercely territorial, with even bitter rivals fighting against outsiders together. In fact I suspect that this quirk of their culture is what prevented All For One from fucking off to south America or Africa and building an empire the usual route.

Note that I'm not complaining about it, but his unusual propensity to infiltrate governments and societies with secret cabals loyal to him was beginning to grate on my nerves. Not that I had many nerves to grate left.

Shaking my head, I pushed any unnecessary thoughts out of my mind and focused. The package was retrieved and none was the wiser to it.

Now, lets see what exactly this particular Yakuza fossil is planning to do.

-/-

For Izuku, the past month had been mostly peaceful.

Well, as peaceful as one could get in this day and age. It still hurt that he no longer had a home besides the small room at the mountain compound where he and his brother developed MJOLNIR.

It hurt even more that he could no longer pick up his phone and call his mom and tell her about his day.

He still had nightmares about that night.

In a way it was almost insulting how quickly the world had returned to a degree of normalcy in the aftermath of the battle at Kamino. Nevertheless, it still felt wrong to not hear All Might's familiar 'I am here' shout first thing on Wednesday morning as they entered the training fields.

At least Melissa was there to help with the pain, even if his brother wasn't.

Izuku decided to stop that train of thought before it went any darker. He had already been the subject of an intervention by Mina and Melissa, with Tokoyami accusing him of 'exuding darkness that ate away at the light' or whatever it meant.

The dorms instituted by the school at least managed to mitigate most of his and his classmate's mental problems. Still Kirishima had yet to return to his usual bubbly self and Mina was constantly hovering around him. The lack of a blond-haired yelling ball of anger management issues was sorely missed.

Still, Izuku couldn't afford to lose himself in fantasies. Katsuki was gone, at least for the moment, despite how it grated him to know that his letters weren't suicide notes and having to keep it quiet.

His classmates will pull themselves together. This Izuku knew. They were a resilient bunch, even if a bit odd. He still couldn't explain how Aoyama managed to actually look even more chipper and happy after this ordeal, but it may just be the way he dealt with loss.

-/-

Izuku bounced off the ground and retook his stance, managing to parry the sword strike with his Gunbai and attempting to counterattack. Unfortunately, Melissa just danced out of his way

"Uh, this is unfair. How did you even get this good at Kenjutsu" grunted out Izuku

Melissa giggled "Talent and hard work, I suppose. What is it you told me? With chakra nothing is impossible"

"Yeah, yeah, I remember. Now let's move on. I served enough as your punching bag"

"Hm, ok"

Melissa dropped her stance and returned the sword to her scabbard. Izuku moved to the nearby bench and tossed her a bottle of water and a towel before setting down his Gunbai and retrieving a water bottle for himself.

"So, how is it going with Black Whip?" asked Melissa as she came to hit near him

Izuku shrugged his shoulders before making a so and so motion with his hand

"It's weird. They're not that different from the Chains of Heaven, but it's like they're more responsive and yet, at the same time they're not. Also they make an excellent substitute for scribing seals with chakra"

Melissa frowned "Isn't that good though? You don't have to waste chakra on scribing seals"

"Not really, I mean not right now. If it was back when I just started chakra training, then maybe, but scribing in the air takes a relatively insignificant amount of chakra and I don't have the best control over black whip. It'll be great for maneuvers, though. And weapons. Now I have a true non-lethal replacement for the Chains of Heaven" said Izuku with a happy tone

Melissa smiled "I'm glad it's going good for you. You seem happier than I've seen you in some time"

"Yeah, well I managed to get in touch with the vestiges last night, and All Might was there, so I cried myself out in there" said Izuku with a tinge of nervousness in his voice

"If you weren't so sweaty, I'd hug you right now"

"Hey!"

The two devolved into laughter at the joke. After all, they had been training with resistance seals and without active chakra support, so their clothes were caked with sweat and grime from fighting each other. Not that they cared. Izuku was just happy to not be alone in the moment and he was somewhat glad to be away from Kirishima's moping.

He hoped that it won't devolve into full-blown depression. His entire class and Aizawa watched for even the slightest hint of that. No one wanted an actual suicide on their hands.

"So, about the work studies" Melissa began

"What about them?"

"Have you decided where to go?"

Izuku paused in drinking his water. He had originally wanted to go and join Madara in cleaning up what remained of All For One's known associates in Japan. Those that hadn't been taken in after All Might and All For One's first battle were now bereaved of all support that the Emperor of Darkness could have provided. That and with Japan collective rage turned towards them, and now that All For One was gone it was quite easy to arrest them and then ransack their houses/business in search of evidence. But this won't last. People were already moving on, now that the last funeral service for those that had lost their lives as a result of the battle was over.

That path was closed to him. Apparently UA had decided that only agencies with a reputable track record of good internships could take on students in work studies. Mighty Agency, formerly All Might's, now his brother's was unfortunately not one of them and they were unwilling to wave that rule, even for Izuku.

"No" said Izuku somewhat depressed

Melissa sighed "You know, maybe you could ask Gran Torino or Nighteye-"

"That's it!" yelled Izuku as he jumped to his feet with a smile.

Melissa was confused

"Tank you, Mel! You're a life saver" said Izuku as he gave her a quick hug and then bolted out the door

Melissa remined there dumbfounded until the light bulb clicked in her head as well.

-/-

Mirio didn't know what to think when Sir Nighteye called him and told him to bring a first-year student to his agency. It was even more unusual because Sir didn't even give him the student's name, only a place and time where he was to meet up with this mysterious first year.

It was quite unexpected to see one of the Midoriya brothers there, all dressed up in his armor. For a moment he even struggled to say anything.

"Hello, sempai! I am Izuku Midoriya"

Mirio kept his smile only out of sheer habbit.

What could Sir possibly want with one of the Midoriya brothers? Not that he had anything against them or anything, but during his internship with the elder brother he saw that his and Nighteye's relationship was strained, and as much as he would like to see only the best in his mentor, Mirio was aware of Nighteye's weak spot for All Might and what he considered to be his 'legacy'

"Don't worry senpai, there's nothing nefarious going on here" said Izuku with a smile

"Eh? What do you mean by that?" asked Mirio genuinely confused at the sudden description of his thoughts

"Ni-san and Nighteye didn't have the best of starts, but we reconciled. The death of someone we all held dear would do that" said Izuku sadly

Again, Mirio felt a stab of pain in his chest. Was he really that obvious?

"No, but when you have as much experience dealing with those of the silent stoic type like my brother, you usually get what they're thinking without them saying it out loud" said Izuku

Mirio's smile faltered 'This is one scary kid'

"Haha, I'm sure. Anyhow, I'm Mirio Togata, hero name Lemillion. Are you ready to leave now, or do you want to change?" asked Mirio hoping to steer the conversation to easier topics.

"What's wrong with what I have on now?" asked Izuku

Mirio looked at him. It really didn't fit to have his cute, almost babyish face sticking out of a suit of armor that wouldn't look out of place on one of the old dark superheroes from the pre-quirk era film that Tamaki usually watched.

"Nothing, of course, I just thought that you might want to dress a bit more inconspicuously, given that we'll be taking the train to Sir's agency" said Mirio

Izuku seemed to consider this and nod.

"Be right back"

-/-

Nighteye was surprised when Izuku contacted him to ask for a position as a work studies intern at his agency.

To be frank, he would have suspected that he would choose his brother. Still, seeing as UA was unwilling to relax its stringent requirements for which pro-hero agency could take on interns, it warmed his heart to know that he was considered above all others by Izuku for his internship.

As Izuku stepped into the office, Nighteye allowed himself a slight smile. He quickly took note of Mirio's strained expression. As unfortunate as it was that he was being kept in the dark, it was a necessary precaution when dealing with the insanity that usually followed the Midoriya brothers.

"Thank you for accepting me, Sir. It's an honor" said Izuku sincerely

"It was my pleasure. Now, when we spoke, you told me that you wanted to gain experience in certain matters, could you elaborate?" asked Nighteye

Izuku nodded and lost his cheery smile, his face turning blank and his eyes gaining a glint of steel that never failed to send a shiver down Nighteye's spine. It felt unnatural for this kind boy to seal away his hearth under a mountain of ice-cold steel.

Izuku gave Mirio a look.

"Mirio, wait outside please. I'll call you back inside once we're done here" said Nighteye

He could see the slight shock and hurt on Mirio's face, and Nighteye felt like shit.

Once he left, Izuku began to speak.

"I need to learn how to investigate and take down organized crime rings. While nii-san is good at that, he's not the best. You helped All Might rip apart All For One's operations before. You're the best for this" said Izuku factually

Nighteye nodded.

"You are correct. In the past several weeks, we have seen an increase in activity, particularly in the old crime syndicates" said Nighteye

Izuku went to speak, but Nighteye cut him off

"And it's not just Japanese crime rings that are moving"

Izuku shut his mouth with a click and took a seat in the chair in front of Nighteye's desk.

"What do you mean by this?" asked Izuku

"Madara has not told you?" asked Nighteye surprised

"He has not" confirmed Izuku

Nighteye observed him. It was a jarring change from the time before to see him like this now.

"Continue, please" said Izuku, but Nighteye knew that it was a command

"Very well. Since the death of All For One, it would appear that his international allies have begun to jockey amongst themselves for control over AFO's empire, and they are not always subtle. In Japan though, it would seem that old groups like the Yakuza have begun resurfacing. The group that my agency is investigating is one of these Yakuza groups called the Shie Hassaikai. Their leader is known as Overhaul and in the last couple of weeks, they have begun an aggressive drug export operation, seeking ties with the Triad and even the mob bosses of Vladivostok. With the chaos that is beginning to brew all across the world, most big hero associations are focusing on the big players as well as rooting out corrupted agents of All For One"

Izuku nodded. It was the expected response but in his mind, he was doubtful. If the big players were such a problem, why is Nighteye focusing so heavily on this small Yakuza group. Surely contact with other underground syndicates wouldn't warrant such actions. No there was something more here.

"Why are you targeting this Yakuza group?" asked Izuku

"Up until 3 weeks ago, it was being run by the old boss. He was someone we could deal with and he knew his place. It certainly helped that he had a strong code of morals and he was more interested in helping others get out of the crime life than he was in profits or power"

"What happened to him?"

"He fell ill. Or at least that is what my contact said before he went dark"

"And this happened right after Overhaul assumed command, didn't it?" asked Izuku

"Precisely. That was also the time when the entire group shifted in their stance. They began marketing their own version of Trigger, and an improved one at that, one that reaches close to the Trigger sold in America" said Nighteye

Izuku leaned back in his chair as his mind raced with possibilities. The movements of the Yakuza leadership were suspect, but in the current climate, ultimately minor and reasonably expected. After all, there were bigger fish to fry than a small-time Yakuza remnant. However, this sudden production of high-quality Trigger shows some worrying signs

"There's more, isn't it?" asked Izuku

Nighteye nodded

"This past week, we have received reports of a drug that is capable of temporarily stopping a hero's quirk. When apprehended, the villains were oddly adamant about keeping the source of this newfound drug a secret. Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on a dealer"

"And you found your link to the improved Trigger distribution network" surmised Izuku

"Correct. The dealer in question was just a small fry, but he had connections, and he was trusted enough that some of his higher-ups trusted him enough to sell this drug in their name to people he trusted to keep their mouths shut" said Nighteye

"I see, but I still don't get how you linked this new drug to the Hassaikai. On another note, did you even manage to capture some of this drug for analysis?" asked Izuku

"We have not. However, the Hassaikai is our most promising lead, and they are small enough to use as a practical lesson for you" said Nighteye

Izuku nodded, withholding a cringe. It still felt wrong to throw his, admittedly small, weight around to get what he wants, but he told himself that it was necessary. Especially now that All Might and All for One was gone.

-/-

Changes were taking place in the high tower of what was formerly known as Might Tower.

The first to go was the globe-shaped ornament on top of the tower. It still sparked outrage.

I sighed as I thought about the protest last week. In a way, people were doing all they could to cling to the memory of All Might. However, despite a somewhat rocky public perception after my blunder, most people understood it to result from my injuries incurred after fighting All For One. I will not alter that perception of events. It suits me far better than the truth.

Turning back from the window, I took in the mass of holographic displays. I had several active cases, and keeping track of them took a lot of work. I am somewhat glad for all this technology to aid me. In the past moth I have noticed something highly distressing. My vision is beginning to wain. True, with the Sharingan I could still see clearly, but the edges of my vision were just out of focus enough that my field of view has narrowed. Not by much, certainly not enough to be noticeable day to day, but it was still unsettling.

I didn't use my Mangekyou much after the battle, only enough to get a grip over it's activation, but the damage was already done.

I estimate that I could do what I did at Kamino three, maybe four more times before I go blind, and considering that Izuku possesses no Sharingan of his own… No I won't go there. If I am to go blind, so be it. I will not propagate the curse of hatred by stealing my brother's eyes for the meager possibility that I may achieve Eternal sight.

I haven't told Izuku about this yet. This is not something that he needs to know right now. This burden is mine to bear alone and I will not take what little peace my brother has for the sake of this world.

The power of my Mangekyou will be enough, however little or long it lasts. With the technology at my disposal, I can easily create clones of my eyes and even if the Sharingan will be lost to me, I am still more than capable of fighting without these eyes, so I won't worry too much. All I need is enough time to right the world and eradicate All For One's remaining allies. After that, I can rest.

Now though, the mission awaits.

A/N: I'm BACK! Sorry for the long delay in getting this chapter out. It's been nearly half a year since I last posted something. Honestly, I didn't plan to take another hiatus so soon after the last one, but life got in the way. I will continue to update this story, especially now that I've got a clear vision in my head about where this story is headed. Future updates may come sporadically, this is due to the situation in Ukraine (I'm Romanian). I'm writing this between classes at my university and shifts at the border refugee camps. I hope this situation will be resolved soon, but I don't anticipate being able to pump out more than a chapter a month, maybe even less.

Anyways, please lease leave a review with any thoughts comments and suggestions

PS. Sorry to sspokemoncool, I may have overestimated my ability to pump out chapters.