Chapter 28:

The Villain Is Fired Up

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

“Uh, that’s a lot of weapons, Flare. I don’t know about you, but no normal could survive with that many guns pointed at them.”

Reyna sighed in irritation and watched a number of thugs mobilizing towards them. Many were rushing into the building, while many more stayed and pointed their guns up at her. She knew they would never hit her: Reyna already had the power to focus her flames on whatever she wanted, and she had found out long ago that she could do so with items, too. Reyna applied that same theory when she had saved her friends at the orphanage. Any bullets or ranged weapons that tried to hit her would ignite and burn away before it could ever touch her.

She shook her head and scowled. “Don’t worry about me, idiot. Worry about yourself.”

“Are you saying you’re bulletproof?” Check asked her incredulously.

Reyna chose to let him think what he wanted. Of course, it had taken some trial and error, but when the time came that it mattered, Reyna had found herself protected. It was definitely taxing to take into account though, and whenever she began to focus on too many aspects of her Power, she seemed to get a fever, and only a long cold bath could mitigate it.

What did all of this mean? It meant that Reyna was not worried about her own safety. It also meant that this safety didn’t extend past her, and she found herself surprised that she was even thinking about the hero beside her. Unwittingly, she found herself thinking that Check was as annoying as Hoshi was, albeit in a different way. Then again, Hoshi was one of the only other people she knew and had begun to actively interact with.

“You know what,” Check finally said, “I’m not even going to ask anymore. The fact that I’m even having an amiable discussion with you in broad daylight is shocking enough as it is.” Reyna raised an eyebrow at him, and he folded his arms. “You don’t have to worry about me, by the way. I’ve got my own tricks up my sleeve.”

Reyna eyed him for a few moments more before scoffing. “Sure. But I didn’t need your help blocking those strikes for me.”

“If you didn’t need help, then I’m not anyone special,” Check said. Shouts began to echo up from the staircase, and they both tensed as they realized they would soon be stuck between two imposing forces.

“You get the ones below, I fight the ones up here?” Check asked.

Reyna ran her hands through her hair and let her flames rush through them. “Sure. I don’t really care.” Reyna stepped onto the edge of the roof and cracked her knuckles. “Just don’t get in my way.”

Check shrugged. “Kinda hard to do that when we live in different realms.”

For some reason, that stung Reyna, and her boiling anger failed for just a moment. And then, she tipped backward as the door to the rooftop burst open and Check immediately moved.

In free-fall, Reyna could hear the cracks of bullets already trying to make their way towards her. A pang of fear struck through her but nothing ever hit her. With a relieved smile, she flipped in the air and landed with a rush of fire. Even as she recovered from her fall, the thugs didn’t seem to stop shooting, but she noticed a few of them really taking their time to reload. Taking a mental note of that, she let her Power die for just a moment.

Reyna’s ultimatum was simple. “Anyone who never signed up for this, leave…Now.”

Her gaze immediately found the ones who seemed to hesitate at all. Anyone who flinched or took a little longer to react. Everyone else immediately brought their arms back up and trained them on her. She grinned with as much malice as she could. “Alright then. Looks like I’ve got some fish to fry.”

And since Reyna just wanted to get rid of them, her face grew stony and she dropped to her knees. In that instant, she wanted her power to reach as far as it could, as fast as it could, and to ignore everyone she knew was doing this against their will, who didn’t want to hurt her.

She wanted it to burn as much as it could, without physically harming them. She slammed her hands into the ground and a tsunami of blue fire rushed from her. The asphalt beneath her hands immediately began to bubble and she tried to tune out the screams of pain that were increasing tenfold with every second.

Her anger boiled away as she toned the heat down and took her hands from the ground. She dared to look up, and immediately felt like throwing up as she saw the many groaning and smoking bodies of her tormenters. The few who were unharmed by her flames were stunned speechless and immediately ran while no one was paying attention them. Reyna then turned her attention to the one person she knew was in charge of it all and calmly walked her way over to his gasping body.

He seemed to recognize Reyna even in his painful delirium because he jerked into a state of consciousness and did his best to try calling away. Just as he made to move, Reyna kicked him back over and stomped on his chest. He screamed.

“Why,” Reyna spat. “Why did you target that orphanage!?”

“Collateral!” The man choked with a pained laugh. “It was completely out of spite! We know who you really are! Haha! Rey-urk!”

Reyna’s foot had moved to his throat. “It would be best if you choose your next words very carefully.” She snarled at him. “And don’t think you’ll ever speak again if you so much as utter my name.”

Seeing that her threat had rung true, she loosened the pressure and he gasped and grasped at his throat. “Maruna,” he gasped. “They don’t tell us who the boss is. She might know. I don’t! I don’t!”

Flare stood for just a moment before nodding. As she watched him sigh in relief, she let her hand ignite and she slammed her hand around his throat. She didn’t know if this would work, but if it did…she wanted her Power to strike his voice so that her name could never be uttered. His screams hurt her ears, and the moment she knew he had felt enough pain once more, she took her hand away.

“Try saying my name.” When he shook his head in fear, she yelled, “Say it!”

He opened his mouth in tears, and alarm ran through his features. “I can’t! I, I can’t! You’re R-urk! ACK!”

A pressure lifted off Reyna’s chest…and that was when she heard footsteps behind her.


She turned around to see Check staring at the one-sided battlefield. He turned his gaze to her and frowned. “What did you do?”