Chapter 3:

The Villain’s New Job

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

Reyna may have looked cool and collected on the outside, but she was actually screaming and shaking on the inside. Getting that call from Reiko was like lightning: Beautiful, but undeniably terrifying and dangerous. She had always wanted to work for the Golden Globe, but this was just crazy.

It wasn’t like Reyna was picky about what jobs she took. Her last job was actually custodial for a cozy company she really liked before they had to let her go so they could keep their family business afloat. She wasn’t mad, to say the least. She really hoped that old couple was doing alright.

No, it was the fact that the position was for a Danger Crew. Danger Crews, or DCs for short, were something that only came about thanks to the rise of superpowered individuals, which also gave rise to superpowered crime and crime-fighting. If she remembered it right, they mostly acted on what social media was reacting to. If a part of the city began to blow up with posts about something interesting, they would be the first on scene to record everything before the A-Teams of their respective journals would come swooping in to finish the job.

It was good for experience and a solid resume, but it was fast-paced, high-risk, and dangerous. And Reyna could handle dangerous. After all, she was Flare! Golden City’s infamous villain! She was cool, she was intimidating, she was—

“Purpose of your visit?”

—Completely out of her element, and she stammered, “I was told about the job opening here? A spot was reserved for me by, uh, Reiko Miyamura?”

“Ah, Miyamura!” The receptionist smiled. “Let me get Barry for you.” She quickly texted Reiko that she had made it before the receptionist returned with the boss-man in tow. What then followed was a whirlwind of numbing information as she shook hands with the manager.  He then began rambling about the state high-turnover among Danger Crews at every journal in the city before she stood where she was now, staring at her apparent trainer. The person Reiko told Reyna about.

Hoshi Michiaki had a lean build, one she was surprised to see was well toned. It instantly told her that Hoshi took good care of himself, but considering the line of work he was currently in, it wasn’t too shocking. It was, however, a little distracting. Shaking her head from those thoughts, she snorted as he grew red just from being introduced, before a comment from Barry the boss-man caught her ears.

Figuring now was as good as any to figure out what kind of insanity she was getting herself into, she asked, “What happened to Kazuma?”

“He’s still recovering after being slapped by a flying goldfish.”

Reyna’s brain froze. “Huh?” Now, Reyna had seen her fair share of whacky powers since she’d started her reign of terror. Mostly small-time thugs and crooks, or even weak-willed wannabe heroes trying to make a name for themselves. She could actually remember encountering someone who could shower condiments from his hands; Reyna shivered as she thought of the many showers she took after that day. A power that could knock a grown man out with a flying goldfish, however? What kind of gimmick was that?

Noticing her confusion, Hoshi snapped his fingers. “Sorry, let me explain. When we heard some news about a restaurant being attacked, we ran over there, right? And then we saw this guy reaching for the live fish in the restaurant’s tank, and before we knew it, they had all mutated and were swimming through the air.”

Blinking, Reyna gestured for Hoshi to continued. He snorted. “Well, there were a lot, and a few headed right at us. Maybe the guy saw the cameras and got scared. Anyways, I was able to dodge, but Kazuma was, for all intents and purposes, tackled to the ground by a giant mutated goldfish.”

As Reyna processed this, boss-man roared with a laugh. “Why, that was a great article you wrote, Michiaki! It was over by the time A-Team Nine got there, but you got a couple good shots. We got double the views on that one article alone and it spawned an internet meme. Good going!”

Hoshi sighed. “It’s not doing Kazuma any favours, that’s for sure.”

Reyna snorted a laugh that quickly became her bending over wheezing. “Th-that was real?” she asked, wiping her eyes. “I loved that picture! You’re telling me this Kazuma was actually beaten down by a couple fishies? Haha!”

“You’ll certainly come across more interesting stories like this one, Hikaru.” Barry walked over to Hoshi and clapped him on the shoulder. Hoshi, to his credit, didn’t react at all. “Michiaki here has been on DC Three for over six months. That’s longer than all the other current Danger Crew members combined!”

“Impressive, Michiaki.” Reyna whistled appreciatively. “Looks like I’ve got a lot of learning to do.” Inside, however, Reyna had begun screaming about the expectations that now sat on her shoulders. How was she supposed to measure up to Michiaki when he was so clearly favoured by boss-man!? Would she end being KO’d by a flying fish and turned into a meme too?

As Reyna waged a mental war, Hoshi smiled wryly and rubbed the back of his head. “All I can say is: It’s not easy.”

“Which is why you’re the perfect man for the job.” Barry then clapped Reyna on the shoulder, which shocked Reyna out of her internal breakdown. She knew it was coming, but it still made her grit her teeth. “Hikaru, watch Michiaki carefully. He’s as experienced as they come. And Michiaki? I don’t care if you disappear again or look like a wreck; Just don’t leave her alone.”

Reyna watched as Hoshi hummed and met Barry’s eyes before averting them and fiddling with his desk. “Right.”

Seeing that his work was done, Barry clapped his hands and began to march off. “I have paperwork to do now, but keep it up, Michiaki. And good luck, Hikaru! I look forward to seeing what you come up with!”

Just as quickly as he appeared, boss-man vanished, leaving behind Hoshi and Reyna to pick up the pieces. “Looks like we’ll be working together for the foreseeable future, huh?” Reyna asked.

Hoshi nodded dumbly. “Uh-huh. Let me just pack some things. Then we can, uh, go out, I guess.”

Reyna smirked. “Oh? Are you asking me out on a date, senpai?”

“Quit it.”