Chapter 10:

Perfect Outcome (+ Author's Notes I)

Half-Paid Heroes

After punching a few more things into his phone, Kirikagura hesitated for a moment before he typed his next statements: "There's a protest in the city - Liberation Square - about revocation of the Offense Squad Law. Attorney-General is there. This is our chance."

"B-But how?" Ella spluttered.

Kirikagura took this opportunity to crawl out from under the table. "Persuade the Attorney-General to make a modification to the Law, which - if he approves - he can submit to Parliament. There's a low percentage of success, but I have full faith there will be a perfect outcome."
Liberation Square was a space in the city characterised by its cube-shaped buildings and opalescent tiles lining its surfaces, making it look like something out of a modernised fairytale. The Attorney-General - a seemingly grumpy man who towered over the crowd and had a strange limp in his gait, his dirty blonde hair and goatee completing the visual metaphor of a wounded giraffe as he hobbled around the Square, surrounded by a swarm of people he couldn't shake off. Policemen flanked the protesters from all sides, and umbrellas of all colours and designs popped above the crowd as rain began to fall.

A black figure came sailing in from above just as Ella and Kirikagura made it to the edge of this crowd, colliding with the blonde as it landed. As soon as "Ow..." was uttered by both of them though, this figure in black turned out to be Heart Hope (sans hat).

"Ell! I can finally jump buildings in a single bound! Isn't that-" Chris started, but stopped when Ella shut her down with a single comment and kept walking through the crowd, dragging the still-silent Kirikagura along with her.

The comment?

"It's too cliché."
When Ella and Kirikagura reached the man in the middle of the crowd, the protest hadn't gotten any calmer. In fact, the people's murmurs were getting louder. Kirikagura had a black umbrella in the crook of his arm to protect his only means of communication and was glancing out at the crowd worriedly as Ella came face-to-face with the person they wanted to meet.

"Excuse me, sir. I'm Ella of the Kirikagura Company," she swept into a brief curtsy, "and my boss lost his voice, so I'm here to speak on his behalf." Her dull emerald eyes swept towards the reply Kirikagura had prepared while driving to the city.

The reply was lengthy, so Ella had no idea where to start before the giraffe-like man shook his head. "I've heard your argument before, Kirikagura. Although I do recall that girl," he gestured at Chris, who was still stuck in the mob but visible from where they were, "was responsible for stopping Odagaki's operation, disrupting the neighbourhood is unacceptable. I thought we agreed on that when we first made the law public." As Ella glanced back at her friend, she noticed the rain on Chris's face looked like tears.

"There were lots of witnesses that can prove Odagaki attacked first." This was a statement of Ella's own volition - the sudden passionate light in her eyes in her voice proved this.

Another shake of the giraffe-like man's head. "If you want to argue that, it's outside my jurisdiction - I will not deal with it."

"Kirikagura says, 'I was the first one to have powers and the first one to create an offense squad. Thus, you must be able to take my request into consideration as an expert'," Ella finished, finally succeeding in finding something of use in Kirikagura's text - and subsequently catching the Attorney-General's attention.
---- Author's Notes I ----
I normally reserve author's notes for the end of the story, but I hope to challenge Brandon Varnell's "Nephalem" on the monthly ranking using this work, so I'm keeping myself on track by putting a bunch of notes here.

[On Honeyfeed]
* I used to leave likes for people, but these days, I do comments because likes skew the rankings in my competition's favour. My comments are long, but they take hours to perfect because I'm worried of hurting writers' feelings/I go off track. If I really like your work, I put it in my library, but after it's there, I normally forget to read the rest of it...Update as of 4th September 2017: Likes no longer skew rankings, but they still go towards badges. I still only give likes to those I feel deserve them, which is rare.
* I sometimes edit after the first publishing of the chapter, and I take comments into account with editing. For that matter, you can read my replies to others' comments if you're looking for hints as to future events.
* Thank you to those I’ve been chatting with on Honeyfeed – you'll know who you are, because these days, if you comment on my work, I'll return the favour for at least one work of yours (if you have any). It was you guys that kept me on this path, specifically Gerry Hines, whose comments sustained my writing for a while.
* Feel free to comment/like. Aside from the hints mentioned above, it'll make my day and may put me back into motivation mode.

[Outside Honeyfeed]
* I'm quite insistent works should be exclusive to the platforms they're posted to, and to take a page out of One Punch Man, "I'm just a writer for fun". Therefore, when I see someone like Brandon Varnell get their works sponsored on Otaku USA or someone like Kathy Zero ("My Knight") rely on Wattpad cross-promotion, I get disappointed and angry at myself, but simultaneously motivated.

[On this story]
* This is the 3rd revision of characters from 2015’s end (which for a person who writes when motivation for a story is high is a long time) and this is the 3rd revision of this story. Originally, Chris and co. were a group of girls who turned into magical boys (collectively known as the Hearts, hence "Heart Hope") and defeated a boss from another dimension. One of the big reasons for the 3rd revision was talk about “Wonder Woman” bringing back my love for strong female heroes.
* The idea of a superhero company isn’t new, but I intend to make it my own through focussing on real-world themes stories like this sometimes shy away from.
* A lot of writers default to Western food, even for people who don’t always eat that type of food, hence prawn sesame toast is a plot point.
* The loophole in this current plot thread doesn't quite work without the Attorney-General. Admittedly, I took a lot of liberties with how the recommendation system (used for the loophole) works. Also, it's quite obvious from the dialogue overload I made the turn of events in ch 9 up on the fly.
* If there are characters called Chris and Martin, they have to be a sibling duo – this is a convention from a story you can't find on Honeyfeed. I’m a Coldplay fan, so it’s a bad joke…

Gerry Hines