Chapter 29:

The Hero Argues With The Villain

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

Hoshi, with some difficulty, was able to dispatch every single person that had come for him. The door to the staircase being a vital chokepoint helped tremendously. He was able to deal with each person who came at him individually, giving him the unbeatable advantage since he only needed to use his Power to disarm them. After that, it was too easy to take them down. Without a weapon every single one of them fell apart. In all honesty, Hoshi was surprised there wasn’t one competent CQC master among them, but he wasn’t going to complain.Bookmark here

Upon defeating his last thug on the bottom floor, he made to reach for the door when his Power blared with a warning. He frowned and saw his foreshadow’s hand burn. “What…” Hoshi murmured. He then took a pair of gloves from one of the thugs on the ground and gingerly wrapped it around the handle before pulling. The door opened and a rush of heat blasted through the cool staircase.Bookmark here

Hoshi yelped and turned away until he acclimated. The moment he could bear it, he rushed outside and stared at the many incapacitated bodies on the ground. Every single one was smoking and he stared as a few who seemed to escape the fate of the rest ran past him, their weapons tossed away and forgotten. Surprisingly, no one seemed to have burns despite clearly having been burned by fire. Some flames persisted still, stubbornly flickering on the steaming asphalt. He swore he could even see one spot bubbling, but he shook his head.Bookmark here

As he tread carefully, trying his best to keep his shoes from melting too much, he heard Flare’s voice screaming at someone. Hoshi’s gaze turned to find Flare standing over the well-dressed man from earlier. He made his way towards her and called to her.Bookmark here

Hoshi asked the question that was plaguing his mind the most. “Flare? What did you do?”Bookmark here

Flare whipped around to face him with a look of surprise and shock. “Ch-Check!”Bookmark here

“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.” Hoshi frowned. “Seriously. What happened here?”Bookmark here

“I, uh…” Flare appeared to be bashful and gestured all around her. “I burned everyone to the ground?”Bookmark here

Hoshi blinked and looked once more at the otherwise-healthy looking thugs that were passed out on the ground. “They don’t look hurt…”Bookmark here

“That’s not important,” Flare said quickly, obviously trying to change the subject. “I know who was in charge of this guy, and he said she might know the person at the top.”Bookmark here

“Flare,” Hoshi said firmly, “Are they going to be alright?”Bookmark here

He watched a myriad of emotion cross Flare’s face. Anger, resignation, and fear. “Yes,” she said slowly. “They’ll be fine. I just wanted them to experience the pain of fire. So that’s what my fire did.”Bookmark here

“Wow,” Hoshi whispered. “That’s some Power.”Bookmark here

Then again, Hoshi had no right to argue against Flare’s Power. Whatever way he looked at it, Hoshi’s Power was completely unfair. And he knew there weren’t many, if any, things that could hurt him. In any case, the fact that Flare was able to control the properties of her Power was something he stored away.Bookmark here

Perhaps it was something he could do as well…Bookmark here

“I never wanted it,” Flare spat. “So don’t talk about my Power. Let’s talk about Maruna.”Bookmark here

“Maruna?”Bookmark here

Flare nodded. “That’s the name this guy gave me.” Hoshi winced as Flare kicked the cowering man on the ground and he only whimpered. Bookmark here

“Could you not kick someone who’s already given up?”Bookmark here

Flare scowled. “I let everyone who didn’t want to actually do anything go. Everyone here deserves what they get.”Bookmark here

Hoshi shook his head. “You know I still can’t let you do that.”Bookmark here

For a moment, they had a stare down, until Flare scoffed and turned away from him. “Tch. Fine,” scoffed Flare. “But remember that name. Maruna might know who’s in charge. I’m going to look into it too.”Bookmark here

“Flare. Wait.” Hoshi made to stop her. “We need to talk.”Bookmark here

Her immediate glare made Hoshi recoil a bit. “No, we don’t. We don’t have anything more to talk about.”Bookmark here

“Why are you doing this?”Bookmark here

That seemed to catch Flare off guard as she froze at the question. “…Why?”Bookmark here

“Why do you care so much about taking down the Moon Ravens? How did you even know about them?”Bookmark here

“Of course I know about them. They burned down my—I mean, that orphanage. Whoever is behind this is evil through and through. And that pisses me off.”Bookmark here

“You never cared before,” Hoshi argued. “You’ve never done anything like this before.”Bookmark here

“What’s it to you, anyway?” snapped Flare. “Who the hell do you think you are, asking me why I do what I do?”Bookmark here

“I’m Check,” Hoshi said resolutely. “And I wanted to check on you. Because this whole situation is volatile and clearly bothering you. It isn’t something I can ignore.”Bookmark here

“Ignore it anyway. It doesn’t concern you.” Flare’s heated expression fell for just a moment. “It’s not like you’ll believe me anyway.”Bookmark here

Hoshi barely caught her words, but he widened his eyes nonetheless. “Flare—“Bookmark here

“I don’t care what you think. I’m not stopping. And if you even think about getting in my way, I won’t hesitate to burn you down. That’s a promise.”Bookmark here

“I believe it,” said Hoshi.Bookmark here

He watched Flare laugh in disbelief. “You’re the first to ever say that.” She shook her head and flames erupted from her hair and spread all over her. “Who would have thought a hero would believe me…” Bookmark here

Hoshi tried to call out to her. “Flare!” he yelled, but it was no use. In an instant, she left behind a wave of blue and uncomfortable fire that washed over him to no effect. As he watched her rocket away, Hoshi felt conflicted. He knew there was a reason for all of this. One he couldn’t help but feel would explain a lot about Flare. But this was only his second time encountering her. Hoshi would need to be more careful from now on.Bookmark here

After a moment of thinking, Hoshi turned around and sighed at the state of affairs before him. “How am I going to explain this to Samson?” he asked in despair. Then, his gaze travelled to the roof, where he knew an unconscious Adamant still lay. “I can’t just leave her though…”Bookmark here

One intense moment of deliberation later, Hoshi was making his way up the staircase to the roof. “I can’t believe I’m even thinking about this…”Bookmark here

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