Author's Note: I don't read reviews so if you have anything to say or point out, PM me.
1) One For All
4) Danger Sense
6) Fa Jin
( City C - Super Stadium )
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for waiting! I am pleased to announce the start of the 22nd Super Fight Tournament!" exclaimed the Super Fight Announcer who is a man dressed in a black suit with a tie and a pair of sunglasses. He has a groomed moustache and keeps his dark hair in an Afro that's in the shape of a microphone. The Announcer is standing on the arena in the middle of the stadium as the thousands of people who are watching from their seats all cheer in excitement for the upcoming fights.
The Super Fight Announcer points an arm towards one of the two tunnels that leads into the arena. "Let us welcome all of our entrants!" he announced into the microphone in his hand. All the martial artists attending the tournament walk out onto the arena one after the other while the Announcer introduces them to the audience. "First up is the Class A Hero, Lightning Max, who has entered the Super Fight Tournament for the very first time! Max of the Hyper Karate style!"
Dressed in a personalized white and black karate gi instead of his usual Hero outfit, Lightning Max walks out onto the arena while he waves to the audience. "I can only see myself winning" he said, confidently.
"Next is our only female entrant! Her lightning-speed attack could be considered a form of art. It's Lin Lin of the Palms Bell Fist!"
"Hurry it up, I want to fight already" mumbled an impatient Lin Lin. Lin Lin is a young and small girl with a lean build and a slender figure. She has red eyes, dark hair braided and tied into loops with bangs that cover her forehead. She wears a maroon qipao style top with white arm warmers and a scarf. She accessorizes with bells in her hair, ears and shoes.
"Next up is Benpatsu from the Harsh Path Arts dojo!"
Benpatsu chuckles and walks out with a confident smirk and his arms folded. He is a lean-built man with his dark-coloured hair gathered up in a high braid. He has a small moustache and wears a black gi.
"And now, one of our top four regulars! His serpentine arms enclose his opponent to take them down! The man ranked the lowest of Class A Heroes, it's Sneck of the Biting Snake Fist!"
"Did you have to mention that I'm the lowest ranked Class A Hero?" asked a calm, but inwardly annoyed Sneck, not that the Announcer can hear him. Just like Lightning Max, Sneck is wearing his specially customized martial arts outfit instead of his Hero costume.
"Do not fret folks, cause we got a lot more fighters to show! Always electrifying, it's Volten from the Fist of Thunder and Lightning dojo!"
Volten is a man with sunken cheeks and round eyes with dark markings around them. He keeps his black hair slicked back and wears a high-collared olive green outfit with golden decorative buttons.
"Bazuzu from Bazuzu's Nuclear Explosive Fist dojo!"
Bazuzu is a man of muscular build with his dark hair kept in a long mohawk. He also has thick eyebrows and a small beard. His attire consists of a tan-coloured one-strap top with black wristbands.
Gatlin of the Multi-Hit Style!"
Gatlin is a young man with dark hair swiped to the right. His eyes have dark markings around them and are of different colour, with his left eye being light blue and his right eye being red. He wears a turquoise hooded top, black T-shirt and gloves with a gatling gun's muzzle printed on them, with bandages wrapped on both arms, along with black shorts and boots.
The kindred spirit from the Sunflower Dojo's Gentle Art of Self-Defence, Hamukichi!"
Hamukichi is a very muscular man with many scars on his body and face. His hair is light brown with two small buns on each side. He has a full beard and a perpetual blush on his cheeks. He wears light shorts with hamster prints on it, dark leg warmers, wrist bands and a belt.
"Dave of the Crushing Giant Style!"
Dave is a very large obese man with slicked back dark hair. He wears a white shirt that barely covers his stomach. He also wears black pants with suspenders.
"Rosie of the Psychoanalytic Martial Art!"
Rosie is a young man with light-coloured eyes and grey hair that parts to the left and has an undercut. He wears a blue suit with a white shirt underneath and a red diamond-patterned tie.
"Mentai of the Spice Fist!"
Mentai is a young man with red hair and eyes. He has a small X-shaped scar on his right cheek and a band-aid over his nose. He wears a brown short sleeved shirt that has chilli on it, gray pants, maroon fur on his collar and wrist, and chestnut rose gloves.
"Jakumen from Giga Pro Wrestling!"
Jakumen is a very tall muscular man with a well defined jaw and wide nose. His hair is light brown and kept short. He wears a short-sleeved white shirt with an Umber singlet over it with the initials GP on it in yellow.
"Choze of the Fist of the Pure Blood Master Race!"
Choze is a tall man with light-coloured eyes and white hair that's parted on the left side. He wears a red turtleneck with a checkered pattern, black gloves and white pants. He also seems to be missing eyebrows.
"A former student of the Fist of the Flowing Water Crushing Rock, Sourface of the Sourface-Style Kempo!"
Sourface has short dark hair, but his most noticeable feature is his taut face, strained to the point where it appears that he has been eating sour food. He also has a cleft chin. Sourface is muscular, although short in size.
"This is his seventh consecutive entry! Can this man who refuses to give up finally make it to the top? It's Zakos from the Head First Rushing Style!"
Zakos is a young man with long, blonde hair that is slicked back and has a prominent widow peak. He has green eyes and his eyebrows are prominent, pointing outward. He wears a traditional, red embroidered, pink uniform, a white belt around his torso and red sunglasses.
"Next up is a surprising entry. First time contestant, he's from the Fist of the Flowing Water Crushing Rock dojo, give it up for Charanko!"
Visibly shaking, Charanko clenches his fists to try and control his nerves, mildly succeeding. "Stop shaking, damn it! I need to do this to prove to Master Bang that I am worthy to be his student!"
"And now for the strongest man in Super Fight history, our returning two-time champion! His fights are always one-sided, but according to him, he hasn't even shown us his full strength yet. Bakuzan of the Dark Hell Assassination Art!"
Bakuzan is a muscular man with spikey dark hair. He keeps his sideburns unkempt and spikey, and has a bushy uni-brow and goatee. He is wearing a white martial arts uniform with torn sleeves.
"And we have another unrivaled contender! He's returning for the first time in seven tournaments! The young legend who managed to win four times in a row! It's Suiryu of the Void Fist!"
Suiryu is a tall, handsome young man with a lean, muscular build. He has blue eyes, tan skin and black hair tied in a ponytail reaching his lower back. He is wearing a navy blue martial arts uniform with white linings, long sleeves and star-shaped buttons. Unseen by those watching, he is also wearing metal bands around his biceps. Suiryu waves at the cheering crowd with wild abandon, loving the attention being given to him.
"He spent the last three years since he disappeared goofing off, and apparently, he's only after the prize money this time. Is he so powerful because he doesn't crave fame or notoriety? However, Bakuzan is also in the tournament."
"So that's Suiryu. If I can kill him, I'll become the strongest man in the history of this tournament" thought Bakuzan, staring at Suiryu from behind. Bakuzan may look bored, but he's staring at Suiryu's back with such intensity that Suiryu can actually sense it.
"I can practically feel his bloodlust piercing my back" thought Suiryu, not that he has anything to worry about. In fact, he's greatly disappointed by the turnout of martial artists. None look like they could give him any kind of a challenge. "I actually wanted to fight the guy who won last year's tournament." Suiryu recalls watching last year's tournament where an exceptionally skilled martial artist in a wolf mask had won the tournament effortlessly. Sadly, it looks like he isn't participating this year. "I wanted to play with someone stronger, if I could."
"Now then, before we start off the matches, there is some big news that we would like to mention" exclaimed the Announcer into his microphone. "Some of you watching in the stands or from your homes might not be aware, but the bigwigs in charge had invitated the S-Class Hero, Silver Fang, to judge this year's tournament, in which he accepted." The Announcer waits for the crowd to stop cheering before he continues. "Unfortunately, a private matter has come up that Mr. Silver Fang couldn't postpone, thus he had to cancel at the last minute" he announced, not surprised when the audience starts booing to show their displeasure over the World's Greatest Martial Artist not attending.
"Wait, so Master Bang isn't coming?" said Charanko, both perplexed and disappointed. The only reason he joined the Super Fight Tournament was so he could prove to his master that he deserves to stay in his dojo, but how can he do that if Bang isn't here?
"I'm not surprised. Master Bang is probably swamped with work from the Hero Association. Why a gifted martial artist like him wastes his time as a Hero, I'll never know" stated Zakos while pushing up his sunglasses with a finger.
"That's too bad. I was looking forward to showing off for him" muttered Gatlin in disappointment. It's not everyday you get to show off your skills to the World's Greatest Martial Artist.
"Before you bring out your pitchforks and torches, I've got some good news to share!" declared the Announcer, silencing the crowd. "Silver Fang may not be here with us today, but another Hero agreed to take his place as judge, and I promise you won't be disappointed!"
"Hm?" hummed Bakuzan in slight interest.
"I wonder who it is" wondered Hamukichi, tapping his chin while thinking about who the possible Hero could be.
"Probably some wannabe martial artist who took up Hero work for an easier lifestyle, like these two" said Rosie, pointing his thumb back at Lightning Max and Sneck. Neither Hero rises to the insults, but they do show their displeasure by narrowing their gazes at Rosie's back.
"Could it be another Class S Hero?" asked Mentai, hoping that it is. The S-Class Heroes are considered the strongest fighters in the world, so he'd love to show off his fighting style to one of them. If it's his all time favourite S-Class Hero, King, he'll try to get an autograph from him.
"Doubtful. Other than Silver Fang and Deku, there aren't any proper martial artists among the Class S Heroes and I imagine that Deku wouldn't want to waste his time judging a simple tournament" stated Lin Lin while folding her arms across her chest. She refuses to acknowledge the likes of Puri Puri Prisoner, Tanktop Master and Superalloy Darkshine as martial artists, seeing as they're nothing more then muscleheads who only manage to defeat monsters by using their overwhelming physical strength. At least with Deku, he combines his immense physical power with his own martial arts style, the Deku Style, which makes him the unstoppable force of nature that he is today.
"He's the man who rises to any occasion, stopping natural disasters and defeating monsters as easily as breathing, the one who fights the shadows of all that is evil and does so with a smile on his face-"
An excited tension fills the stadium as every set of eyes widen in recognition and quick anticipation, including all of the martial artists. Only one Hero in the world matches the Announcer's introduction, especially the part about the Hero smiling.
"No way!" exclaimed a sceptical Rosie.
"Is it really him?" muttered Sourface, shaking at the sheer thought of having his personal martial arts judged by him.
Choze's arrogant smirk stretches as a psychotic look appears on his face.
The Announcer dramatically waves his arm towards the second tunnel. "He's the man who knows no fear! The one who's considered the World's Strongest Man! It's the one and only, Deku!"
Dressed in his Hero outfit, Deku emerges from the tunnel, waving towards everyone in the stands. Deku's smile makes his pearly white teeth glint off the sunlight. The sight of the Number One Hero is enough to rile up everyone, viewers and martial artists alike.
"I can't believe it. Deku is actually here in person" muttered Zakos, astonished that he's standing only a couple feet away from Mr. Invincible himself.
"The World's Strongest Man" muttered Bakuzan, looking at Deku, intently. Defeating Suiryu is one thing, but if he could defeat Deku, then he would be proclaimed the world's strongest fighter.
Once bored, Suiryu now struggles to contain his excitement as he watches Deku climb up onto the arena. "It's him! The World's Strongest Man!" he thought, grinning in excitement. The thought of testing himself against Deku ignites a passion in Suiryu that he hasn't felt in quite a while.
Once on the arena, Deku steps up beside the Announcer who offers him the microphone, only for Deku to politely decline. Deku then looks out at the viewing audience. "It is my honour to judge this year's Super Fight Tournament! I've always been a fan, so you can say that it's a dream come true for me to judge it!" he said, his voice booming to the point where everyone in the arena can hear him without issue, showing why he doesn't need the microphone. "I would like to wish every fighter here good luck in their matches. I hope to see some interesting fights!"
"You heard it from the man himself, folks!" remarked the Announcer, getting cheers from the audience. "Now, without further ado, let the 22nd Super Fight Tournament, begin!"
( City E )
Standing atop the rooftop of one of the many skyscrapers dotting the landscape, Bang and Bomb watch the nearby streets, hoping to find any sign of Garou.
"This would be easier if we used another Hero as bait for Garou" told Bang, impatient over the lack of progress in their search for Garou.
"True, but as of now, even Garou would struggle to find a Hero, what with them all leaving for the Hero Association Conference" told Bomb, leaning a foot on the edge of the rooftop.
Bang grunts, knowing his brother is right. Most Heroes are likely preparing for the trip to the Hero Association Headquarters, especially the ones who live in the cities farthest away. Hence, why there are so few Heroes out on the streets, leaving the protection of the cities and its civilians to the police and military.
"I heard that Deku took your place as judge for the Super Fight Tournament this year" said Bomb, hoping to make some small talk with his brother. While he did agree to help Bang search for Garou under the excuse that his brother's former student would attack his own dojo, he also came to try and break his brother out of his brooding phase. Ever since it was revealed Garou was the one hunting Heroes, whilst calling himself a monster, Bang has been constantly brooding and lamenting past mistakes. To see his usually cheerful brother act like this is enough to break Bomb's heart.
Crouched by the edge of the rooftop, Bang's old, but sharp eyes look from person to person, searching for his former pupil. "That young man really needs to learn how to take a break. He may be the Number One Hero, but he's still young. He should be going out with his friends, getting into trouble and hooking up with girls. Although..." Bang involuntarily shivers at the thought of what Tatsumaki might do if Izuku ever did get a girlfriend. "Maybe that's the God-level threat Shibabawa was speaking of?"
With his hands behind his back, Bomb turns to his brother, looking bemused. "I think the last person Deku should be getting advice from on how he should spend his time is you, brother, or do I have to remind you of how you use to be?"
Bang drops his head and sighs. "Do you have to bring that up? I was young and brash back then" he said, knowing that he had been arrogant and foolish back in his days of youth. If not for Bomb literally beating that arrogance out of him back then, he wouldn't be where he is today.
"Arrogant and stupid too" continued Bomb who smirks when Bang throws him a glare.
"Yes, that too" grumbled Bang who stands up, although still with a hunch. "Thankfully, Izuku is a better sort of man than I." Bang smiles in fondness. "That boy has the power to wipe out multiple cities with a swing of his fist and yet, there's not an arrogant bone in his body. Even with all that power and fame, the boy is humble to a fault. Such a person is very hard to find these days, especially in the current world of martial artists and Heroes."
Bomb smiles when he sees the hard edge in his brother's eyes turn soft and hears the fond tone in his voice when he speak of Deku. "He's a special kind of person alright. No better person to be the Number One Hero, I say."
"True" agreed Bang with a nod. Much to Bomb's disappointment, the soft look in his brother's eyes fades as he returns his focus on the search for his wayward student. "Anyway, enough about him. It looks like Garou isn't here. Let's move on to the next city." Bang then jumps across the rooftops, leaving Bomb behind who watches as his brother hops away.
"I hope this search of yours helps you find the peace you're looking for, brother" muttered Bomb before he jumps after Bang.
( City C - Super Stadium )
"And now, let us begin round one!" declared the Announcer, all while pretending he isn't fanboying over Deku who's sitting right beside him in the announcers booth. "It's Lightning Max versus Lin Lin!"
Lightning Max and Lin Lin are the only two fighters standing in the arena, both of who are in their respective martial art stances. On the outskirts of the arena is the referee who chops his hand down to signal the start of the match. The instant the referee starts the match, Lin Lin presses on the attack by leaping high into the air. She spins while in midair and uses the falling momentum to add more power into her upcoming attack.
"And Lin Lin makes the first move!"
"That's an impressive leap. Lin Lin's Palms Bell Fist Style must put a lot of focus in training her leg muscles. To spin while airborne and use her own falling momentum to boost her attack power is also quite clever" commented Izuku, studying both fighters with an analytical gaze.
"Oh? That's quite a lot of praise coming from the Number One Hero! Does that mean you predict Lin Lin will be victorious against Lightning Max?"
"I never said that."
Just as Izuku spoke, Lightning Max places his hands on the floor, using them to balance his whole body. Now standing on his hands, Lightning Max rapidly spins himself before he thrusts his legs out at Lin Lin who's dropping down on him from above. Lightning Max's fast reaction time leads to Lin Lin's own momentum being used against her, as Max's feet kick her in the stomach, stopping the female martial artist in her tracks. Lin Lin coughs up spittle before she's thrown back to the other side of the arena, unconscious.
"Lin Lin is down! Many were skeptical about just how strong he is as a martial artist, but Max managed to beat Lin Lin without a single scratch!" exclaimed the Announcer.
Izuku looks at the Announcer, wondering what he means by that, but doesn't mention it, for now. "Lin Lin is a skilled martial artist, there's no doubting that, but it's obvious that what she lacks in isn't skill, but experience."
The Announcer turns to Deku, interested. "Experience, you say?"
"Lightning Max is a top A-Class Hero who has fought not only Villains, but Mysterious Beings as well. You could say all that experience sharpened him into a fine blade. Lin Lin is good, but Lightning Max has fought faster and deadlier opponents in the past."
"I see. When you put it like that, it makes sense that Lightning Max would be the superior fighter" nodded the Announcer who looks to see that Lightning Max and Lin Lin have been removed from the arena and now, the next two contenders are ready to fight. "Round two, Zakos versus Charanko, is about to begin!"
Izuku looks down at the arena, focusing more on Charanko then Zakos. Admittedly, he's surprised to see Charanko enter the tournament, but he can make a guess as to why he did so, having heard about how Bang kicked him out of the dojo. While Bang did it to protect Charanko from Garou, Charanko doesn't know that. Having seen the kind of student Charanko was, Izuku admittedly can't imagine him performing well against the other martial artists, most of who are masters of their respective martial arts.
As the name of his fighting style suggests, Zakos immediately rushes Charanko and throws a cross punch. In a very rough stance of the Fist of the Flowing Water Crushing Rock, Charanko tries to deflect the attack, only to be too slow as the blow hits him in the face, knocking him back a few steps. Zakos presses on with multiple attacks, a mixture of punches and kicks that all make impact against his opponent.
Izuku winces every time Zakos deals a blow on Charanko. It's been barely a minute and Charanko is already bleeding and covered in bruises.
"Zakos presses on the offensive, giving Charanko no time to defend himself. Charanko has his guard up, but has yet to attack. Will this be the first time Zakkos wins a match!?"
Grabbing Charanko's arm, Zakos tosses him over his shoulder. Charanko lands on his back with a pained gasp. "Apologies, but my girlfriend is watching from the crowd and I need to win this" apologized Zakos who stomps down on his opponent's skull, only for Charanko to roll away. Luckily, he did, because Zakos's stomp slightly cracks the ground where Charanko's head use to be.
Shakily pushing himself onto his feet, a bruised and bloody Charanko spits out blood and holds his hands up. "Damn it! Get your head in the game. I need to prove to Master Bang that I am worthy to be his student. I need to defend myself. I need to fight. I need to win!"
Izuku's eyes widen slightly when he sees Charanko go into the Fist of the Flowing Water Crushing Rock stance again, but this time, Charanko's stance has become sharper and more refined. He even sees a barely noticeable blue aura wrapped around Charanko's hands, exactly the same as Bang, but not as prominent. It's still amateurish at best and his body is shaky from his injuries, but all in all, it's a near perfect Fist of the Flowing Water Crushing Rock stance. "Well, I'll be."
Izuku isn't the only one to notice Charanko's improved stance. "His guard has gotten better. It's still amateur, but better then it was a minute ago" thought Zakos, keeping his own guard up, just in case. He's not gonna get his ass handed to him, not when he's so close to his first victory. Even if he doesn't win the tournament, he can confidently propose to his girlfriend, knowing that he earned his first victory today.
Going in for the kill, Zakos rushes in at Charanko to end the fight then and there. Zakos throws a jab towards Charanko's face, intending to knock him out with this blow, but something surprising happens.
Charanko moves his right hand with surprising grace and manages to deflect Zakos's punch away, much to everyone's surprise.
"I can't believe it! After spending the entire match as Zakos's punching bag, Charanko has now begun his counterattack" exclaimed the Announcer in excitement.
"Just like Master Bang thought me" thought Charanko, gritting his bloodied teeth in determination. Not noticing a small ethereal blue glow covering his hands, he deflects Zakos's punch. "Deflect with the grace of flowing water and then..."
Zakos widens his eyes when he sees Charanko's other hand thrust out at him, now that he's been left wide open. He cries out in surprise and pain when Charanko's fist strikes him in the face, tilting his head back as blood spills from his nose.
"Counter with the strength of a crushing rock!" Charanko ignores the aching pain in his hand, enjoying the feeling of managing to use one of Master Bang's own techniques for the first time. "Master, I only wish you were here to witness this."
Zakos's body falls backwards, but just as the back of his head was going to hit the floor, he manages to hold himself up by using only his leg strength. With a grunt, Zakos raises his upper body until he's standing upright again, much to Charanko's horror. Angry and annoyed as blood drips from his nose, Zakkos lunges at Charanko. "I will not lose!"
"Crap!" cried Charanko, attempting to get back into his stance, but he's too slow.
Zakos's fist connects with Charanko's nose and the sound of cracking cartilage reveals that Charanko's nose broke. Zakos then wraps his hands around the back of his opponent's head to use as leverage so he can thrust his knee into Charanko's stomach.
Charanko spits out blood, feeling his ribs crack from the attack. "I-I need to get away. I need to make space betw-" Charanko's thoughts fade as an elbow to his temple forces him into unconsciousness. "Master..."
Even as his opponent collapses to the floor, a heavily breathing Zakos waits until the referee declares him the winner. Once he does, he let's the weight fall off his shoulders, having now won his first ever match after seven attempts. "I did it" he muttered, not even caring that an obvious rookie had gotten a hit in.
"It has finally happened! After seven attempts, Zakos has finally earned himself his first victory in the Super Fight Tournament!"
"Charanko had put up a good fight, but it was obvious that Zakos was the more skilled and experienced fighter. Zakos's fighting style may be rash, what with him rushing head first into the fight, but his experience and better training has made him the victor." Izuku's grin widens ever so slightly. "Still, Charanko shows promise. If he were to take his training seriously, he just might become a skilled martial artist of his own right."
As the crowd cheers in excitement and the matches continue on, nobody notices a small pink figure high in the sky, being mostly a single eye with bat-like wings poking out the side of its small body.
( Monster Association Headquarters )
"The matches are underway" told Psykos, standing before Orochi as he looks through the eye of his spy drone that is watching the Super Fight Tournament from a distance. "By the looks of things, there are a few contenders who may prove useful to our organization." Psykos glances up at Orochi's massive form. "Once they've become monsters, of course."
"Is in attendance, as I predicted" confirmed Psykos, nodding. "The plan will begin once we reach the finale of the tournament. By then, we'll have a brief understanding of all the martial artists skill levels and find out which ones will make the better monsters."
Orochi sits in silence, allowing his second-in-command to run the operation. They've already gone over the plan before hand, so he already knows what they need to do to get Deku away from the stadium.
Psykos watches the matches from the safety of his spy drone, waiting till the end when they'll start their plan to remove Deku from the stadium so they can turn all of the contenders into monsters to fill their ranks.
( City C - Super Stadium )
As time passes by, Deku watches multiple matches between the contenders, offering comments for each one. Some of the matches provided an impressive demonstration of skill while others were a bit lackluster. Still, Izuku enjoys the thrill and exhilaration that the tournament exhibits, and it only grows in intensity once the next match starts and the obvious crowd favourite steps out onto the arena.
"It's the man himself."
"Nobody expected to see this man compete again and the crowd is buzzing in excitement to see him in his element! Suiryu has entered the ring!" exclaimed the Announcer, the floor practically shaking from the loud cheers and stamping of feet of everyone in the stadium, all excited to see Suiryu fight. "His opponent is, Max!"
As Suiryu walks onto the arena, Lightning Max is already there and waiting for him with his arms folded, studying his opponent who he knows is considered the favourite to win the tournament. "Look at Mr. Popular. Could he really be that better then me?" wondered Max, not caring for the arrogant smile on his opponent's face. He closes his eyes so he can recollect on the reason he entered the tournament. "No way, I can't see it. Don't forget, this guy isn't the one you're after. Compared to that monster, this clown is nothing more than a scrub."
Opening his eyes, Max looks at Suiryu, who is now overshadowed by the memory of the Deep Sea King who stands in all his terrifying glory. The Deep Sea King's bloodlust and staggering physical might still haunts Max to this day. Never in all his life did he ever feel so weak and powerless then when he fought against the Deep Sea King, but now, after giving it all to his training, he can finally see if any of it paid off. Even better, he can showcase his training's results in front of the very same man who defeated the Deep Sea King. "Watch me, Deku. I want you to see how much I've improved since that day."
"Suiryu, I entered this tournament because I have to get stronger. If I fail, I can't call myself a Hero. I'm sorry that I got to do this to you, but I consider you a competent and capable opponent. That's why I'm going to use our match to test my new monster fighting technique" told Max in full confidence.
"So, you're a professional Hero, then. I see. That means you train with lofty ideals in mind. I guess everyone has some reason to be seeking strength" remarked Suiryu, smirking when he sees that his words got to the Hero.
Unknown to either martial artists, whilst everyone else can't hear them speak, Deku's enhanced senses let's him pick up on everything they're saying.
"So, Lightning Max has a new technique to fight monsters. I can't wait to see it" thought Izuku, looking forward to seeing this new technique. At the same time, Izuku doesn't care for Suiryu's condescending tone when he spoke of Max being a Hero.
Immediately, Max charges at Suiryu, moving so fast that when he kicks off the floor, he causes a barely noticeable shockwave.
Izuku's eyes perk up at the sight of Lightning Max's speed. "In all the clips I've seen him in online, not once did Lightning Max move so fast. He must have undergone extensive training after the Deep Sea King incident."
Moving so fast that he's almost like a blur, Lightning Max performs a series of difficult spins and flips, each one adding more momentum to Max's finishing move. "Lightning Pinwheel Double Axe Kick!" Max finishes his attack with a front flip and a double axe kick. Unfortunately, Lightning Max's attack never connects, since Suiryu counters with a high kick to the side of Max's face, showing off his lightning fast reflexes. The powerful kick knocks out the A-Class Rank 19 Hero almost instantly.
"Personally, the reason I sought strength..." said Suiryu, just as his kick throws Max across the side of the arena. The Hero's unconscious body bounces and rolls along the floor, stopping just shy of the arena's edge. "Was so I could live the easy life with not a care in the world. Sorry to shut you down, but I was stronger" finished Suiryu, smiling over his easy victory.
Izuku tries hard not to show his disappointment, not for Lightning Max losing, but for Suiryu. Personally, he's impressed by Suiryu's fast reflexes and power that he used to defeat an A-Class Hero with one move. While Suiryu may not have shown off his full capabilities in the multiple tournaments he attended, Izuku estimates that the martial artist's skill level would be considered S-Class worthy. It's just a shame that Suiryu shows no interest in using his skill and talents for the betterment of everyone else.
Unfortunately, Suiryu isn't only powerful, but he's very much aware of how powerful he is. Handsome and incredibly skilled, Izuku can imagine Sweet Mask giving permission for Suiryu to join Class S if he were to ever join the Hero Association, just like how he did with Genos. Sadly, Suiryu is far too arrogant and self-serving to be a Hero, as shown by how he admits that the only reason he entered the tournament was so he could win the prize money.
"All that talent, all that power, and he wastes it on living the comfortable life." It's not often that Izuku gets annoyed, but he hates to see so much potential be wasted.
In the stands, Genos watches the match with an indifferent expression, but is inwardly startled over how Suiryu managed to defeat Lightning Max so effortlessly. "A Class A Hero defeated by a single kick. There are more people out there who are stronger than Heroes than I realized."
From Izuku's perspective, the next few matches varied in terms of length and martial artists skill.
In the match between Sneck and Benpatsu, Sneck proved his martial art skills to be far superior than Benpatsu's who then resorted to insults and dirty tricks to try and get an edge over his opponent. Instead, Benpatsu soon found himself face down on the floor after a particularly nasty strike to the chest, courtesy of Sneck which resulted in the Hero's victory.
The next match between Volten and Bazuzu ended in just a few seconds after Volten uses a mixture of martial arts and electricity to defeat his opponent, leaving Bazuzu's unconscious body smoking on the arena floor.
"Using a combination of electric strikes, Volten takes the victory!"
"Bazuzu may be the physically superior fighter, Volten's electrical attacks was just too much for his body to handle." Although, Izuku is curious over the source of Volten's electricity. Is it an iconic ability that only he possess like Tatsumaki and Fubuki's psychic abilities or is it because of some kind of device that he's carrying on his person?
The next match was between Gatlin and Hamukichi. Most spectators placed bets on Hamukichi to win the match, what with him being nearly twice Gatlin's size. Those very same people soon curse over their losses once Gatlin drops Hamukichi, winning the match.
"Gatlin's super fast punches were like a bombardment of fists! Hamukichi is down and he isn't getting back up!"
"In the battle between speed and power, speed often comes out on top. Despite Hamukichi's best efforts to defend himself, Gatlin's barrage broke through his defences with relative ease. Hamukichi's larger frame didn't do him any favors either."
The match between Dave and Rosie turned out to be the quickest of them all so far. Rosie didn't even get a chance to show off his martial arts to the public. By the time he took a step forward, Dave had already jumped high in the air, surprising many. Nobody expected the large overweight man to be able to jump so high. However, everyone did expect Rosie to fall unconscious once Dave landed on top of him, having cratered the floor upon impact.
"And Dave puts the smack down on Rosie with a thundering body press! Rosie is out of the tournament!"
In the match between Choze and Mentai, Izuku nearly had to jump down to the arena to save Mentai from his bloodthirsty opponent. Mentai did put up a good fight, but Choze's superior skill and brutal fighting style was too much for him. The problem was that even after Mentai surrendered, Choze was still keen to continue the fight, wanting to spill his opponent's blood. If not for the referee getting in between them, Izuku would've gone down there himself to stop Choze.
"The referee stopped the fight! Choze's a tough one. Mentai was simply outclassed."
Before Choze leaves the arena, he glances at the announcer's booth, making brief eye contact with Deku. Smirking at the Number One Hero, Choze walks away.
Izuku didn't like the look Choze sent his way, but thankfully, the next match distracts him from the bloodthirsty fighter. The match was between Sourface and Jakumen, and unlike most of the previous matches, it wasn't as one sided as the others. Both fighters were of similar skill levels, but in the end, Sourface won by performing a chokehold on his opponent. What Izuku especially liked about this match was the good sportsmanship, as Sourface offers Jakumen a handshake with the pair soon raising their hands in the air while crying manly tears.
"Sourface wins with a beautiful chokehold! The two fighters congratulate one another. What beautiful sportsmanship!"
"It's nice to see good sportsmanship between the contenders" admitted Izuku, smiling at the sight.
Once Sourface and Jakumen vacate the arena, the next two contenders enter. On one side of the arena is Zakos, sporting a bandage over his newly reset nose. On the other side is a bored-looking Bakuzan.
"Now, onto the next match! Zakos, who advanced by beating Charanko, is going up against two-time consecutive champion, Bakuzan! His lethal Dark Hell techniques have turned many of his matches into pure bloodbaths. Will this bout also end with his opponent hopelessly demolished? We've got medical personnel on standby, just in case."
"All I do is teach lessons to those who don't belong here" scoffed Bakuzan while looking at the tense Zakos. "Listen up, when martial artists trade blows, it's not some friendly sport. It's kill or be killed, life and death." Bakuzan's lips twitch upwards into the bare inch of a smile. "So come at me with the intent to kill."
Zakos grits his teeth, hating how his opponent is looking down on him. Bakuzan might be the two-time champion, but he didn't win his first match to be stopped here. "Fine. If you want me to come at you with the intent the kill, then I'll grant you your wish."
The referee chops down his hand to signal the start of the match. "Begin!"
As per usual, Zakos immediately rushes in to land the first and hopefully, last blow of the match. "Bakuzan may be better, but if I can land a killing blow on one of his vital points, I can end the match here and now!" he thought, targeting Bakuzan's neck. With a strong kick, he could snap Bakuzan's neck and defeat him before he has the chance to retaliate. Bakuzan not moving doesn't matter, since Zakos is confident he can land his blow first. Once halfway across the arena, Zakos jumps and aims a flying dropkick at Bakuzan's throat. "With this kick, I'll win!"
Just as it seems Zakos's kick is about to make contact, Bakuzan performs a highkick at Zakos's airborne body. Bakuzan's powerful leg hits his opponent's left side and the sound of Zakos's left arm breaking can be heard by nearly everyone in the stadium. As if time has slowed to a halt, Zakos's eyes widen in sheer agony. Bakuzan's powerful kick then launches Zakos away, causing the blonde martial artist to bounce off the arena floor, painfully. After the sixth bounce, Zakos slides to a stop on his back, unconscious with blood dripping from his lips and his left arm bending in the wrong direction. The moment Zakos stops bouncing, the medical personnel rush towards him to immediately get to work on his injuries.
"Incredible! It took no more then two seconds for the match to come to an end! Zakos rushed in to make the first move and he paid for it with a shattering kick from Bakuzan!"
"Zakos is lucky that his arm was in the way of Bakuzan's kick. If his arm didn't take the brunt of Bakuzan's kick, Zakos's ribs would have shattered and some of his internal organs would've ruptured" explained Izuku, impressed with Bakuzan's reaction speed and strength, even if he didn't like how he could've killed Zakos with that blow if it had properly connected. By that one move, Izuku predicts that Bakuzan's skill level is around that of an A-Class Hero. As the Announcer continues to comment on Bakuzan's quick and brutal victory, Izuku notices Bakuzan walking towards the unconscious Zakos and he gets a bad feeling about it.
The medical personnel working on Zakos turn to Bakuzan in confusion when they see him walk up to them and their unconscious patient. "Can we help you, Bakuzan?" asked one of the medical personnel, confused by his presence.
Bakuzan shakes his head as he stands over Zakos. "No. Just wanted to remind this amateur about what I said." Bakuzan then raises his right foot over Zakos's head. The medical personnel attending to Zakos pale, realizing what Bakuzan intends to do.
"Bakuzan, wait!" cried one of the medical personnel, moving to try and stop the martial artist, but is too slow.
"It's as I said, you amateur. Martial arts is about life or death, kill or be killed."
Bakuzan drops his foot down on Zakos's skull, intending to smash it into a bloody paste. He would have succeeded too, if not for another foot to appear above Zakos's face, taking the blow that would have killed him. Bakuzan's stomp is stopped dead in its tracks by the other foot that doesn't even budge from the blow.
"What the?" said Bakuzan, surprised that someone managed to sneak up on him so quickly and to stop his stomp so easily. Following the foot to its owner, Bakuzan's gaze eventually meets with the unhappy face of Deku. Standing face to face with the World's Strongest Man has Bakuzan come to grips with how tall the Hero is. Bakuzan stands at just over six feet in height and yet, he has to crane his neck to look up at Deku.
"The fight is over, Bakuzan. Walk away" told Deku, an evident warning tone in his voice.
There's a part of Bakuzan who really wants to fight Deku here and now. After all, who better to test his full strength then against the man considered the strongest in the entire world. Whilst tempted to do just that, Bakuzan isn't ignorant to the absolutely monstrous aura pouring off the Hero. The aura is a radioactive green in colour and washes over the entire stadium and yet, Bakuzan seems to be the only one who can sense it. It's a warning if he's ever seen one before. "If I attack, he would clobber me in an instant" he thought, drops of sweat dripping off his brow. Bakuzan is prideful, but he isn't stupid. The difference in power between them in massive, so much so that a fight between them would end with him defeated in an instant.
Annoyed that his prey has been taken from him, but nowhere near suicidal enough to take on the Number One Hero, Bakuzan removes his foot from Deku's before he walks away with his head held high so he can keep some dignity.
"Incredible! Where's Bakuzan was gonna finish his opponent off, Deku stepped in and took the hit for Zakos instead, and by the look of things, he didn't even feel it. That's the Number One Hero for ya, folks!"
As Deku returns to the booth, Suiryu watches from a tunnel, leaning against the wall with his arms folded. "So that's Deku, huh? He really does look as strong as he does on TV" he said to himself, smiling after watching Deku make Bakuzan retreat with a prod of his aura. Witnessing Deku's aura in person made Suiryu's spine shiver, making him want to fight Deku even more then ever before. "Bakuzan took out his opponent with a single hit knockout. Guess I'll do the same. Gotta impress Deku somehow."
Within an hour, multiple matches take place until the tournament eventually reaches the stage of the quarter-finals. In the first match of the quarter-finals, Sneck is up against Suiryu. Already, five minutes have pass since the match started and it has mostly consisted of Sneck attacking while Suiryu dodges. Frustrated over the lack of progress, Sneck steps away from Suiryu so he can catch his breath. Whilst Sneck needs to take a breath, Suiryu remains calm, smiling without a hint of exhaustion.
Taking deep breaths, Sneck glares at his cocky opponent with unbridled frustration. "I mustn't doubt myself, so I've tried to keep it completely out of my mind, but I can't. I can never shake it" he thought, recalling his early career as a Hero, specifically the time he once fought and defeated a large toad monster all by himself, saving the lives of over a dozen people. "Looking back, I once shown brighter then anybody. I felt the pride of being one of the few real Heroes. I had the power to protect people and it filled my spirit with purpose."
Then, Sneck starts thinking about his recent failures, such as when he failed to protect civilians from the Deep Sea King. If not for Demon Cyborg arriving in the nick of time, the Deep Sea King would've slaughtered every man, woman and child in the shelter. "But slowly, overtime, reality set in. Try as I might, there were others who I couldn't defeat." Having regained his breath, Sneck returns to attacking Suiryu, delivering rapid, but sharp jabs and kicks, each one giving off the illusion of a snake jumping at Suiryu with its jaw wide open to take a bite out of him. However, the snake illusions never do, as Suiryu dodges every one of Sneck's attacks with ease.
"Are professional Heroes even necessary? Lately, I haven't been so sure." After Suiryu jumps away from another one of his attacks, Sneck studies his smiling opponent while still lost in his own thoughts. "If I didn't exist, if the Hero Association didn't exist, would there be someone who would step up and defeat the monsters in our place? At the very least, there seems no need to protect a man like this" he thought, his faith as a Hero shaken while recognizing Suiryu's strength.
Suiryu's easygoing smile and the lack of an actual martial arts stance is starting to annoy Sneck and that annoyance only worsens when Suiryu opens his mouth. "I liked Max from earlier. Nice and aggressive" said Suiryu, praising his previous opponent, even if he defeated him painfully easy.
"Hard to believe from the guy who's been on his heels and won't fight back" remarked Sneck, keeping his guard up. Suiryu's guard might look wide open, but Sneck isn't a fool. Suiryu may look lax, but the lazy stance is the exact same that Lightning Max fought against and he was defeated in a near instant. Having learned from Max's mistake, Sneck keeps his guard up so to not give Suiryu any openings to exploit. One mistake will cost him the match if he isn't careful.
"You misunderstand me. I was just checking out how skilled you are. Class A Heroes make a lot of money I hear. If your level is all it takes, it might be worth my while" said Suiryu before laughing. "Just kidding. Why should I work for money?"
Sneck can't believe the despicable words that's coming from the mouth of his arrogant opponent. "How'd you get to be so strong? Why does a guy like you who has no real sense of purpose have such power?"
Suiryu puts his hands on his hips and hums in thought for a few seconds before he shrugs his shoulders. "Maybe I was just born talented."
"Everything about you disgusts me."
"Back when I trained, all I did was keep my master company. I haven't even practiced in years" told Suiryu, his uncaring attitude only angering Sneck even more. The playful look in Suiryu's eyes turns serious. "But I'm curious. How'd you get to be a Hero? With that level of ability I mean."
Sneck's eyes widen in outrage. "What was that!?"
"More strong monsters are appearing everyday. Even performing at your best, you won't make any difference. With or without Heroes, those who are going to survive, will survive. Survival of the fittest means the weak gets weeded out. It's just the natural order of things."
Sneck finds Suiryu's blatant lack of empathy for those who are killed by monsters greatly disturbing and he isn't the only one.
The Announcer gulps as a dangerous aura engulfs Deku, his smile not reaching his eyes. "Umm, Mr. D-Deku?" The Announcer jumps with a squeak when Deku's fingers dig into the table in front of them, each digit slowly digging grooves into the wood.
"Natural order? Are you actually suggesting that we ignore the people being attacked by monsters?!" asked Sneck in a mix of anger and disbelief.
Suiryu shrugs, uncaringly. "Whatever happens, I know we'll survive."
"And who do you mean by we?"
"The strong of course!"
Sneck looks at Suiryu in pure disbelief. "Wait, you're not-" Sneck never gets to finish, Suiryu's quick and powerful kick hitting him against the side of his face, resulting in Sneck's unconscious body spinning in place like a pinwheel. After multiple spins, Sneck's body eventually hits the ground with the side of his head making contact with the floor first.
Leg still raised from his kick, Suiryu's cold eyes don't even spare a glance to the unconscious Hero by his feet. "I am. Understand now?"
Izuku isn't someone who's easy to anger, having long since gotten control over his emotions. While his control is nowhere good enough to keep him from hiding his emotions, no longer do they control him. It had been quite a problem for him during his first year as a vigilante, especially during those times he couldn't save civilians from monster attacks. That had been an unhealthy moment in Midoriya's life, but it did lead to him understanding one big factor of a Hero's life.
You can't save everyone.
Still, it's not often that Izuku loses his cool, but after listening to Suiryu's views on the Hero Association and monsters, he admits that the martial artist vexes him. Sure, not everyone has the greatest opinion of the Hero Association, but Suiryu's blatant disrespect to the Heroes who risk their lives everyday to protect innocent civilians annoys him greatly. His views on the world is also disheartening to hear, not only because of how barbaric they are, but because those are the same views that are often popularized in his home world. Those with powerful Quirks survive and thrive while the Quirkless are left to fade into obscurity.
Closing his eyes, Izuku takes a deep breath of air to help calm his nerves. It takes longer than usual, but once his nerves are settled, he releases the air trapped in his lungs with a sigh. Only then does he notice the squeamish Announcer beside him. "Sorry about that" he apologized with an embarrassed chuckle.
Thankfully, the Announcer gets distracted when someone walks into the booth with details on the next matches.
The semi-finals are about to begin.
Alias: Watchdog Man
Rank: S-Class Rank 12