Chapter 1:

The Villain’s Woes

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

“So long, do-gooders!”

Sirens blared and panic ensued in the distance as a fiery figure landed on a nearby rooftop. Stumbling to a stop, they extinguished their blue flames and sighed as smoke wafted from their frame. They waved the smoke away, revealing a feminine frame and red hair that reached just past the shoulders. Looking around to make sure no one was around, the masked figure rushed to the roof-access and slipped inside the door before taking their mask off.

Reyna Hikaru rubbed the exhaustion and blurriness from her vision before collapsing against the wall. “That was a lot harder than the last time I went out…” She whispered quietly, her voice echoing softly in the empty staircase. “Is it just me, or are those heroes getting better?” Deciding she didn’t want to know, she slid down the wall and rested her arms on her knees. For a moment, Reyna stared at her gloved hands and costumed body, checking for any damage, before she shook her head. “I really need to get better at escaping. I don’t know when someone will finally catch me…”

This wasn’t Reyna’s first time going out as a villain, and a supervillain at that. It wasn’t so much that she was an actual villain either, but that the general public viewed her as an absolute danger to life in Golden City. In the most realistic sense, every single costumed super-person in the world was performing illegal acts, but it was only the dangerous ones that were reprimanded and branded as criminals and villains.

“Damn!” Reyna cursed, throwing her mask at her stashed bag. Honestly, she didn’t consider herself a villain at all. She was just someone using her powers to try and get back at the world a little. If that included a little property damage, stealing, and generously applied fear, well, who were they to say she was dangerous? It’s not like she went out of her way to hurt anyone. Far from it, she did her best to protect them when the vigilantes came to play hero. It frustrated her to no end that these so-called heroes would carelessly throw their special powers around like that.

Especially when Reyna knew for herself what these powers could do…

A heavy sigh echoed in the stairwell as Reyna also realized that she didn’t even get any of the money she had been trying to take. It had all burned while she was fighting off the police and the superhero of the day. As she changed out of her costume and rushed down the stairs and out of the building, it plagued Reyna’s mind. Losing that money left her with a heavy predicament.

She murmured in despair, “How am I supposed to pay rent…?”

In many respects, Reyna was a talented individual. But finding jobs and doing the whole applying thing was beyond her, and she had failed many interviews over the years because of it. Having just been laid off the week before, Reyna had been desperate and resorted to her “villainous” persona. In the end, it amounted to nothing, and she was back to square one, with barely any funds left to survive. She grit her teeth in frustration as her eyes grew moist, and she huffed.

A call interrupted her misery, and she fumbled through her duffel to find her smartphone, Tapping on its cracked screen, it lagged for a moment before the call connected. “Hello?” Reyna answered. “Reyna Hikaru here.”

A bubbly voice erupted from the speaker, causing Reyna to wince. “Reyna!” the voice cried, “How’s it been?”

It was Reiko Miyamura, one of the only people Reyna could call a friend on the planet. Feeling a small smile tug on her lips, she said, “Oh, not too bad. Was feeling pretty fired up earlier but my energy’s gone now.” Reyna then muffled a whine as she gently massaged a spot where she had been hit earlier. “Feels like I got kicked by a brick, but I’m fine.”

Reiko giggled. “That was oddly specific. You’re so funny, Reyna!”

“Yeah,” Reyna laughed weakly. “What’s up, Reiko? You don’t usually call unless you have something to tell me.”

“Oh yeah! I found something you might be interested in.” There was rustling on the other side of the phone and Reyna strained her ears trying to listen. “I picked up a flyer I saw the other day on a job opening and thought you might be interested. I even asked a friend I knew who works there about it, so it’s completely real!”

Shocked by the news, Reyna nearly dropped her phone. “W-wait, what? Reiko, I can’t accept this—“

“Look,” Reiko said, “I know you told me about your living situation, and I already offered you to stay with me but you declined. I love you, Reyna, but I won’t let you do this on your own.” Reiko’s voice seemed to brook no further argument, and Reyna sighed. The latter knew that the moment Reiko made up her mind, there was nothing that could be done. “This is the next best thing and you know it.”

“Don’t I?” Reyna asked. “What’s the job? Do I have to take an interview?”

As if her serious tone has never existed, Reiko chirped, “No, actually! It seems they’re willing to give anyone the spot, train them, and move from there.”

A huge weight seemed to lift off of Reyna as she smiled. “H-hey, that’s great!”

“Right?” Reiko said. “Anyways, I just wanted to tell you that they had a few spots left, and I asked my friend to reserve one for you. You should head over as soon as you can!”

Struck by Reiko’s planning and consideration for her, she felt her chest warm and took a deep breath. “I will. Thank you so much, Reiko. This means a lot.”

“Anything for a friend!” Reiko exclaimed. “I had a friend once who was always caught up in trouble and she was pretty miserable a lot of the time, so I know what it’s like. I’ll be here if you need me!”

“I hope she’s doing better than I am.” Reyna sighed. “So, where is this mystery job opening?”

“You’ll love it, Reyna, don’t worry,” Reiko assured. “It’s on Nexus Street and Emiko Avenue. ‘The Golden Globe.’ You can’t miss it!”

“Thanks, Reiko. I’ll head over there right away!” Reyna smiled. “You’re a really great friend—wait, did you say The Golden Globe?”