Chapter 11:

The Villain Is Tired But Ready To Work

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

Reyna entered her apartment and closed the door behind her. In her fatigue-induced haze, she felt herself shuffling like a zombie towards the washroom. She went through the motions, setting the water to run cold and sat against the cool tile with a sigh. The moment the water started lapping over the tub, she fumbled for the tap and rolled into the tub with a cloud of sizzling steam.

Was Reyna completely forgoing every step needed to take a bath? Yes. Did she care? Nope. She was too tired and in too much pain for anything. The biting cold seeping into her skin felt so good, to the point that her other worries drifted away and she found her eyes closing.

Some time later, Reyna’s eyes shot open and she yelped as she splashed around in the now-steaming water. Wide-eyed, she tried to find purchase on the edges of the tub but only ended up floundering more. In a moment of clarity, she sighed and stopped panicking to stand up. “What…” Her eyes flicked to the clock in her washroom and widened her eyes.

Pulling the plug on her tub, she cursed, “I need to get ready!” realizing she was still in her costume (which was now a soggy mess of smoke-infested cloth), she stepped onto the tiles, steamed all the water out and stripped. Tossing her costume into the hallway outside, she slammed the door to the bathroom shut.

Half an hour later, Reyna stormed out the front door with steam streaming from her damp head. With her clothes wrinkled too, Reyna was generously using her Powers to straighten her clothes and dry her hair. While she knew it wasn’t as good as actually ironing them, and her hair really didn’t appreciate drying out because of some superpower… She was going to be late!

“Crap!” Reyna huffed. “I’m absolutely winded!”

While she had recovered a lot of her energy, Reyna was still recovering from the many physical traumas she endured yesterday. Principal of these was her abused side; Her ribs hurt, she was short of breath, and every step felt like she was still being punched there repeatedly. Slowing to a walk, she gasped for air.

Reyna wiped her brow. “I…need more exercise…” she muttered. Straightening back up, she stopped her Power and brushed herself down before running her hands through her dry hair. “I hope I look alright,” Reyna said, “And that I don’t smell like smoke…”

Before she knew it, she was standing in front of the doors to the Golden Globe. “Wow,” she said. “My first real day, and it already feels like it’s been forever…” After a moment of recollecting her composure, she walked right in.

Just then, a voice called to her from within. “Oh! Hikaru, how have you been?”

Reyna’s gaze swayed to the the other end of the foyer and she saw Hoshi waving politely. Her lips twitched at the meek display. “Good morning, Michiaki.” She then noticed the slight slump to his shoulders and the dead look in his eyes and giggled. “Didn’t get much sleep last night?”

“No,” admitted Hoshi as he tried to stifle a yawn. He then clicked the elevator and sighed. “All that news about what happened last night was kinda shocking to me. I couldn’t get much sleep after that.”

The topic Reyna had been trying to throw out of her mind since she woke up suddenly came back with a vengeance. For just a moment, Reyna wanted to burst into flames and destroy something, before tempering her anger with a quick proverbial bucket of water. “O-oh, yeah,” Reyna said. “I heard about it too. I, uh…I was worried until I learned everyone made it out alright.”

The elevator dinged as Hoshi seemed to notice her genuine relief and asked, “You were worried, huh?” They both stepped in and he looked at Reyna. “Do you have some connection to that orphanage?”

Reyna hesitated before nodding. “…I guess you could say that,” Reyna said. “I volunteered there a bunch when I was growing up. When I started studying, I stopped going as much, but…” She smiled weakly, trying to hide the pain she felt at thinking about the loss of the building and the trauma the kids must now have. “At least no one was hurt.”

“Yeah,” Hoshi agreed. “I just…I wonder how it happened.” The elevator dinged at their floor and they both stepped off. “Which is why I’ve already filed a request for us to take charge of this case.”

“I wonder how it happened too,” mumbled Reyna darkly. Her thoughts immediately turned to the goons she had left behind the other day. “I wish we could—wait, what?!” Reyna froze mid-stride as she finished processing what she had just heard.

She watched Hoshi scratch his head sheepishly. “I know, I know, it’s probably a really tough topic for you, and this’ll probably be your first real scoop so I get the nerves, but this fits within our purview just fine.” As if in a trance, Reyna followed Hoshi to his desk. She only snapped out of her trance when he sat down and immediately began to work.

“No! I mean, yes—I’m fine with it! But why, and how?”

Hoshi laughed at her, and Reyna felt a spike of annoyance and something else fire through her skull. “We’re a Danger Crew. We don’t just handle dangerous situations; We handle dangerous topics, too. Yes, we eventually give our info up to the A-Teams eventually, but it’s good experience.” Hoshi finished typing something up before swivelling his chair to look at her. “So? What’ll it be?”

While Hoshi’s smirking face was annoyingly cute, Reyna couldn’t help but blink back with some awe. Here she was, raging her own internal battle, and Hoshi won the war before she could throw the first stone. “Y-yeah, I think I can handle it,” Reyna finally said. “What do we do, Michiaki-senpai?”

“I’m leaving you behind.”

“No, wait!”