“Maybe this will teach you to mess with someone on your level.” Genesis said in a smug tone while staring at the poor victim before her.
He had come so proud and full of himself to challenge her, yet had fallen so easily before her non-stop magic barrage. Holding back a laugh, she proceeded to finish the poor victim, making sure to leave nothing behind before turning away.
Not surprisingly, a crowd had formed around her to see the fight, and even less surprisingly, they were all cheering her on for a job well done.
However, just as she started basking on the glory of the victor, a certain music reached her ears, making the super blink surprised for a moment as she processed what that sound meant, only for her to click her tongue annoyed.
Without even reaching her hand to it, the communicator that she had removed flew towards her and fit snugly around her ear.
“Genesis. Doctor M arrived.” The usual man told her.
“Understood. I just finished my meditation here.” She lied through her teeth in a perfect monotone while sighing in her mind. “I’ll be in the room in a couple of minutes.”
“Roger. We are awaiting for you.”
As soon as the communicator went dead again, she hung her head annoyed before reaching for the keyboard of the laptop. Bidding her farewell to her guildmates in the game, Genesis soon turned it off before using her ring to store the computer away.
“It would be so convenient to have storage magic…” She said to no one before sighing. “What a greatest magician I am.” Her tone was self mocking, as one of the few spells she just was hopeless at using was the one she wanted the most right now, so she more often than not had to resort to using a second-hand spell such as the ring.
She would have complained a bit more to no one, but she had said that she was ready, so she couldn’t take too long to arrive or else people would find it strange, so bringing her mask closer, she made her way out of the room.
Genesis briefly greeted the staff as she crossed paths with them before reaching the meeting room. As usual, it was already filled to the brim with heroes, so she took her place on the corner of the room while sitting in her invisible non-existant chair. Since the other supers were already used to the scene by now, the silence didn’t last as long as the first meeting.
For a brief moment while she scanned the room, her eyes crossed with Doctor M, and the two of them exchanged a slightly amused expression before turning back to the usual man.
“Earlier today we got info on the state of thirty nine.” He said in a cold voice.
“Pria. Her name’s Pria.” M interrupted him.
“…Sample Thirty Nine seems to be in the company of a street-level super.” The man ignored the doctor’s taunt once again, saying the words that froze the entire room. Murmurs started to form around the supers, who were all surprised and shocked at the idea. “We still don’t have intel on who this ally is, but we believe it might be a rank D at most.”
While the entire room became noisy with discussion, Genesis simply raised her eyebrow curious on how that particular piece of information had reached them. However, her eyes quickly landed on one of the S ranked heroes in that room. Kageyama, who was strangely quiet as he stared at the projector in silence.
She became curious on to why he would act like that, but before she had the chance of asking, the man on the podium cleared his throat, making the entire room fall into silence once again.
“It also reached our ears that a street level super have is trying to register an Aberrant as a sidekick. While the association refuses to divulge any more info than that, we have reasons to believe that the sidekick is Sample Thirty Nine itself.”
“Wait.” Genesis said out loud in a confused voice, much to the other heroes’ surprise. “She is supposedly an artificial experiment, so she wouldn’t have an ID or something of the sorts to register. How did they manage that?” She asked confused, and soon all the other heroes all widened their eyes in surprise and nodded.
“About that…” The speaker made a conflicted expression. “There was a loophole in the rules of the association.” He said with a sigh. “It allows one to register as a hero under very specific conditions, even without the need of an actual ID.”
“Ah. i think i heard of that once.” Titanus, the earth magician commented out loudly. “Something about having another hero be responsible for everything about you.”
“Exactly.” The speaker nodded. “And this actually means trouble to us, the moment it gets an official hero registry, it will be recognized as a hero by the association and an actual person by law. This would make it extremely complicated to actually try and take it back, to the point that we would most likely have to drop the mission altogether.”
“Then… Doesn’t that means that you already failed?” Doctor M asked curious, with satisfaction clear in her voice. Genesis clicked her tongue slightly at the idea, however the sound was dampened by her mask.
“Not exactly.” The man replied with a victorious smile, earning a frown from the doctor. “The fact that this loophole is so rarely used is actually a blessing in disguise. Their softwares weren’t capable of processing the data, so they have to make everything by hand. This gives us a time-window that we can still capture her without any legal repercussions.” His smile quickly turned into a frown. “However, that time-window is not, by any means, large. We believe that we have at most three days before the process is complete.”
“Just three days?” Someone said shocked. “With all the trouble we were having recently finding it, how exactly are we going to find it in three days?”
“We will address that by once again focusing our efforts into one location.” The man brought up an image of the city with one of the districts highlighted. “This is roughly the area the super has been known to work on, so for now you’ll all be assigned to search around there. We’ll pass around your individual tasks after this meeting is over, but for now…”
Genesis naturally tuned the man off as she looked away in her floating state. With her mind wandering around as a storm of thoughts crossed her mind, she sighed to herself once again, wishing that this meeting would just end, so that she could do something else in the meantime.
As her eyes wandered around the room, she caught sight of something that managed to catch her interest, thus she lowered back to the ground and approached Kageyama.
“Leaving so soon?” She asked in a low tone so as to not attract attention. Kageyama widened his eyes in surprise for a moment before nodding.
“Yes. I’ve seen enough here already.” He replied curtly. “I’m leaving ahead for now.”
“Oh. So you know where our little friend is?” Genesis asked curious, but all she received was an eyeroll from Kageyama. “Fair enough.”
“Well, you see.” He said suddenly, all the seriousness in his voice suddenly gone.“There’s this little buddy of mine who was worried about getting… Well, Caught up in this whole mess, so i plan on giving him a warning.” He said cheerfully.
“A buddy?” Genesis asked in an indifferent tone, however, she was raising her eyebrows amused.
“Yeah. He helped me with something, so we chatted a little before i gave him a couple of autographs as a reward.” Kageyama said while making a motion of eating an hamburger with his hands.
“Hmm. I see.” Genesis said with a nod, however she wasn’t a fool to believe in everything he had said. He was an S ranked super, what could he possibly need help with? “I didn’t expect you to have a friend like that. Give him my regards.”
“I’m pretty sure he’d be happier with a couple of autographs instead.” Kageyama murmured under his breath before shaking his head. “Anyway, once the briefing is over, give me a call.” He said while walking out of the room.
For a brief moment, Genesis pondered the idea of trying to tail him, as she was quite curious about this friend of his, but she soon gave up on the idea. She had tried that before for fun and had lost him in less than twenty seconds, even though she was using the magic she was so proud of.
While his flashy actions might usually contradict his appearance, in the end he was a ninja through and through, and if a ninja doesn’t want to be found, he won’t be found.
And just like that, the moment he turned over a corner, not even the cameras of the building of Grandia enterprise could catch where the ninja had disappeared to. For a moment, Genesis stared towards the direction he had gone to, but soon enough she turned back to the meeting.
Even then, she wasn’t really paying any attention, as she had other worries occupying her mind at the moment.
“…You do this on purpose, don’t you?” Ace asked as he stared at Pria, who was gleefully laying on top of the robe while wearing nothing otherwise.
The girl turned to him and made an innocent confusion expression. Something deep in Ace’s head told him that she was doing that entirely on purpose, but he just couldn’t bring himself to scold her. Shaking his head, he motioned for her to stand up and started dressing her again.
After he made sure that she was well dressed, he quickly checked on the gem within her chest, making sure that it was still fueled. Once he made sure that everything was ready, he gave a quick look to the clock to check the time before nodding.
Today was the day he had marked with Dead-shot to meet and see if they could find out a bit more about Pria, and thus he was already dressed and ready to leave the house, so picking her up in his arms like always, the duo left the house and soon found themselves on the rooftops.
Probably worried about his legs, Pria immediately asked to be dropped down after they reached the rooftops. He had used a small spell to cure his injured leg before leaving, but since he didn’t use a very powerful spell, the recovery wasn’t complete at the moment
However, compared to other injuries he had, this one was still very light, so he decided that it wasn’t much of a problem to carry her.
Of course, Pria decided otherwise, as by the time they reached the second rooftop, she immediately left his arms by changing back into a blob and falling between his arms before reforming in the cloak.
After giving him a look of disapproval by puffing her cheeks and pouting, She finally turned around and started walking away, only to stop near the edge of roof and hesitating, not knowing what to do nor where to go.
Ace chuckled amused at her reaction before shaking his head and looking towards the direction of the city’s center and offering her his hand again. Pria hesitated for a moment while looking back towards his leg and then at him.
In the end, she made a confident expression and turned back towards the space between the buildings. Widening his eyes in surprise, Ace watched in shock as the slime took a running start and then did a surprising leap towards the far edge.
However, with one glance he noticed that she would miss the ledge for just a bit, and he quickly prepared himself to jump after her, but he quickly stopped himself when he noticed a long blue arm extending from the cloak and grabbing the ledge that was more than a meter above her. After a brief moment of wonder, he finally saw as she extended her other arm and pulled herself up with ease.
Ace heaved a sigh of relief when seeing that she hadn’t hurt herself, only to start wondering if falling would even hurt her at all.
Noticing that the girl had already lifted herself up and was looking at him with her chest stuffed out proudly, he quickly followed her by using the speed enchant on his boots and easily crossing the gap.
“That was really good!” He said while gently pulling her hood on once again, and she bounced happily for a bit before very gently tackle-hugging him. “But what do you plan on doing about that?” He said while pointing towards another gap, one where not only was the other ceiling higher, but the space between them easily surpassed six meters. Much bigger than the previous one.
Pria quickly hung her arms limply besides herself, her shock being almost palpable. Chuckling once again, Ace quickly scooped her on his arms, by now more than used to carrying her like this.
“It’s fine, really. As long as I don’t go on a hunt or something like that, I doubt we’ll need to worry about that.” He said in a reaffirming tone. For some time Pria simply stared in his direction, but she finally gave in by holding onto him while clearly being in a bad mood.
As amusing as seeing Pria being sulky was, Ace couldn’t help but recall at times like these that she really was different from a human. At least for now, that is. The thought of whether or not they’d manage to cure her amnesia also crossed his mind. it would help a lot if they knew who she was and how she became like that.
Probably noticing his absentmindedness, Pria gently shook his neck to get him back to the present.
“I’m alright. Just thinking about some things.” He replied to her while shaking his head slightly. “Anyway, we are almost at the usual place.” He said while stopping to scan the horizon. “And there she is!” He said cheerfully.
Sitting on the AC unit of a building was the usual cowgirl, leaning on her custom replica-lookin rifle while lost in thought. While the two made their way to her, they caught sight of her occasionally fixing her outfit or brushing her hair with her hands, before going back to leaning on the rifle.
Smiling awkwardly at the scene that he was somewhat familiar, thanks to having to take care of his twin sisters, Ace lowered Pria to the rooftop before approaching Dead-shot from the side, apparently still haven’t being noticed by the red-haired techie.
“You’re early.” He greeted her,
“Ah! Ace!“ The super replied cheerfully while turning back to them and smiling widely. “And… Pria, was it?” She said a bit awkwardly.
“Is something the matter?” Ace asked curious after Pria awkwardly waved from behind him. “You looked a bit anxious.”
“Huh?” Dead-shot asked surprised. “W-Was it that obvious?” She asked a bit awkwardly, and Ace smiled under his helmet.
“Not really. it’s just that I’m… Well… I do have a couple of sisters, so I’m a bit used to having to try and understand how they work.” He said while shrugging. For a moment, Deaddie looked conflicted before finally sighing and nodding.
“Well, yeah. There is some things that have been bothering me.” She said with a sigh before looking towards Pria and Ace. “Well, it is the first time i’m showing someone my… base, so saying that i’m not worried would be a lie.” The techie said with a sigh while standing up.
“Waah, your distrust hurts me.” Ace said in a bad shocked tone. “To think that the partner with whom I started my road to be a super with would trust me so little! It leaves me hurt!”
“Har har.” Deadshot replied drily while kicking his shin annoyed. “You should know how… Ace?” She stopped once she noticed how the knight had flinched and stood motionlessly.
“Injured… leg…” He muttered from within his clenched teeth.
Dead-shot covered her mouth and took a step back as surprise, worry and even a hint of amusement crossed her eyes. While Ace recovered from the damage, Pria sent her an incriminating glare, making the super try start apologizing hurriedly.
While Ace didn’t worry too much about it, the slime girl was different, as she already didn’t seem to have a good opinion on the techie, and, even though it had only been an accident while fooling around, she did hurt the one person she seemed to trust entirely, so it was no wonder she was that mad.
Once the duo finally calmed the slime, they set off towards the outer edge of the city. Upon watching how Ace was carrying Pria, Dead-shot offered to carry her instead, since he had his injury, but he quickly refused it seeing how her travelling method was more dependant on her hands being free.
It also meant that their travelling speed was significantly slower compared to previously, seeing how, as handy as using grappling hooks was, the time needed for shooting and pulling it back was still slower than simply jumping through the rooftops and walking up the walls.
That said, it was still much faster than having to cross the pedestrian traffic down on the ground level.
However, Ace was surprised on how close they were to his house. While it wasn’t an ‘I can see my house from here’ close, it was still a distance a normal person wouldn’t complain too much about walking.
Following the lead of Dead-shot, the duo arrived in front of an old warehouse in a less frequented area of the neighborhood.
“Well… This is a pretty classic hideout spot.” Ace said with an awkward smile while staring at the door of the warehouse.
“You didn’t really think i’d make my base in such an obvious place, did you?” Deadshot asked doubtfully while teasing him.
Ace raised an eyebrow curious, but quietly followed the other super as she made her way to the warehouse, only to suddenly redirect herself towards the sides and enter the alleyway besides the building. Following her along until they reached the back of the warehouse, Ace saw an old and abandoned truck laying around on the backyard. With its wheels removed and the chassis stained in a sickly brown rust and the trailer threatened to crumble upon its own weight.
As Pria and Ace waited in curiosity as the techie opened the cabin’s door and fiddled with something within. After a few seconds she came back sporting a victorious smirk and calling them as she walked towards the back entrance of the trailer.
“Okay, now this is slightly unexpected.” Ace re-made his assessment of the girl’s base as she opened the trailer’s back door, revealing an equally decrepit inside, but with an obviously out-of-place opening on the floor, that matched a similar opening on the stone ground below, leading towards a much cleaner looking system of tunnels.
“It only opens if both openings are perfectly aligned, and it uses biometric readings to send the signal.” She said with a thumbs up.
“Techie stuff at its best.” Ace said while looking at Pria, whose eyes were wide open and almost shining in excitement at the idea of a secret base. “I think she agrees with me.”
Looking satisfied with Ace’s reaction, Dead-shot smiled proudly and started making her way downwards, the lights coming alive as she walked through the clean passage.
“I actually found this place way before i started the whole hero business, but only got around working on it fairly recently.” She explained. “I should have most of the things i need to keep my gear working around here.”
“Should…?” Ace asked confused.
“Ermm… I still don’t have all the equipment I need here, but everything needed for basic maintenance and resupply should be here.” She said while approaching a steel door near the end of the corridor. “…Just a second.”
Ace and Pria nodded and waited while she turned towards the door and removed her usual sunglasses. With her back towards them, they didn’t get to see her face. A small opening formed on the door as it flashed a red light for a few moments, probably some kind of retina scanner. Ace let out an ‘oh’ of admiration while Pria was almost bouncing excitedly besides him.
With an almost eery silence, the door slid into the wall, revealing a large underground area that was easily as big as Ace’s own house. Filled with different machineries, ranging from simple metallurgic equipment to some machinery that wouldn’t be too out of place in some triple A sci-fi videogame.
“Meanwhile, all I have is a closet with some ritual materials laying around.” Ace commented awkwardly. Pria widened her eyes in surprise before slightly tugging his arms and pointing to the area before her. “…I don’t think I have anywhere enough money to make something like this, you know?” Ace mentioned with a helpless tone.
The blue girl immediately became crestfallen as her shoulders slumped down and a pout formed in her face as she looked upwards towards him, almost pleading with her eyes. However, no matter how much she asked, money was a true issue for Ace, so there wasn’t much he could do.
Giggling amused at the scene, Dead-shot watched him trying to talk down on the girl who had been completely enchanted by the idea of a secret base without much success. Only after some time had passed did she finally intervene.
“Look, Pria. Creating a base like this requires a lot of money, and from what i know of Ace, he shouldn’t have enough money to make something like this.” She gave him a playful glance. “Being as stingy as he is, he wouldn’t do it even if he had the money.”
Although Ace’s eyes couldn’t be seen under his helmet, it took no genius to noticed he was averting his eyes from the lack of reaction. It was only then that Pria finally seemed to give up as she hung her arms limply to her sides while looking even more downcast.
Dead-shot looked at the girl with a conflicted glance for some time before making a motion towards Ace. The super immediately recognized it as their non-official signal for having a serious talk. Raising an eyebrow curiously, he nodded before asking for Pria to await for a moment.
“What’s it?” He asked curious.
“…I’m… not really sure how to tell you this.” She said with a worried tone as she walked away from Pria.
“What do you mean?” The knight’s suspicion immediately shot up through the roof as Dead-shot started acting out of character.
“…Well, i’ve… Been keeping an ear out for rumors on the society and all that. And recently, some info reached me that… Well, i won’t say for certain, but…”
For some time, the techie looked uncertain whether she should say it out or not, and it didn’t take much for Ace to understand that her anxiousness early was probably due to this. Grimacing uncomfortably under his helmet, he wondered what exactly it was that she had to say.
After almost half a minute trying to form her words, Dead-shot finally sighed and shook her head.
“Look. She… Pria is most likely the thing that Genesis and the other high rankers are searching for.” She said it out loud.
Ace’s reaction was simply freezing in his spot as his mind refused to register her words.
Author’s announcement: It’s with great weight in my heart that i now announce that i’ll be dropping project hero. And yes, that is just a joke as a certain demon lord would kill me for even thinking about it. On the other hand, there should be a new story uploaded later today or tomorrow. It has two chapters up and is a Fantasy-into-sci-fi summon of sorts?