Chapter 30:

The Villain Cools Off

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

Reyna felt feverish as she knocked on Reiko’s door. The moment the door swung open, she stepped in and stumbled. She could vaguely hear Reiko yell in surprise. When Reiko tried to grab her, she hissed and recoiled her hands from Reyna, who could only continue shaker her head and lean against the wall.Bookmark here

“Do you have water?” Reyna said. “Cold water. Please…”Bookmark here

She felt Reiko leave her side only to seemingly reappear with a pot that she immediately splashed onto Reyna. The water cascaded over her and Reyna sighed as the water burst into steam. Reiko made to grab her again and, finding her temperature more tolerable, pulled her through the apartment. Reyna, for her part, smiled tiredly at Reiko. “Thanks, Reiko.”Bookmark here

“Thank me later by explaining what the hell is happening,” said Reiko. “For now, let’s get you in the bath.”Bookmark here

“What—“Bookmark here

“I’m not stupid, Reyna. You’re still burning—literally, and you need to cool down.” Reiko threw open the door to her bathroom and pulled Reyna close to the bath. “Get in.”Bookmark here

Reyna nodded and felt relief at the feel of the cool plastic. When Reiko turned on the water, she grabbed the shower head and pointed it straight at Reyna. The water exploded into steam before quickly dissipating as Reyna’s temperature plummeted.Bookmark here

“Alright, spill.” Reiko glared at Reyna. “I didn’t want to deal with your alternate persona because frankly, you’re a lot more volatile when you put on that mask, but now you’re in my bath sitting in cold water because you were one step away from combusting.” Reiko huffed. “What the hell happened?”Bookmark here

Reyna could only bow her head tiredly in shame. “I…I experimented with my Power again. Something strange…” Reyna recalled everything that happened since she left the apartment, from how she encountered Check after following the Moon Ravens and argued with him (Reiko laughed at that for some reason), to her one-sided battle, and her brief conversation with Check. “And now I’m here, cooling off in your house,” Reyna finished. “I’m sorry. I, uh…I feel a lot safer getting angry when no one knows who I am.”Bookmark here

Reiko scoffed at that. “You can say that again.” She switched the water from the shower head to the bath tap. “So. To recap, you tortured them with phantom fire, somehow burned your name away from that guy’s vocabulary, and Check is concerned about you.”Bookmark here

“That about sums it up, yeah.”Bookmark here

“Idiot.”Bookmark here

“H-huh?”Bookmark here

Reiko pinched the bridge of her nose. “You don’t see what’s wrong with this?”Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?”Bookmark here

“Clearly, Ho—I mean, Check trusts you, Reyna. And I think to him, you’re a problem that needs to be solved. Someone who needs help.”Bookmark here

“I don’t need help. I have you. I have myself—“Bookmark here

“It sounds like you would’ve been injured several times over if it weren’t for Check,” Reiko snapped. “You have to give him credit where credit is due.”Bookmark here

“He was lucky! I had it under control!”Bookmark here

Reiko gestured to Reyna’s exhausted form nearly drowning in cold water. “This is under control? Overusing your power to fight off another Powered and beat down helpless hired guns?”Bookmark here

Reyna flinched as Reiko viciously twisted the tap shut. “You could have been hurt, Reyna. You could have been found out. What then? What about your vendetta?”Bookmark here

Reyna shook her head. “No! Look! That guy can’t spill my secrets anymore. It’s like you said! And Check didn’t find out, so I’m fine!”Bookmark here

“And when he does find out?” asked Reiko, her eyebrows raised. “What happens when you fail to keep yourself or your identity safe? What are you going to do?”Bookmark here

“I’ll—“Bookmark here

“Curse him? Burn him? Make him wish he were dead?” Reiko crossed her arms and glared at Reyna. “He’s a hero, Reyna. He helped you. You would still hurt him like that?”Bookmark here

“I mean—“Bookmark here

Reiko continued, drowning out Reyna’s weakening defence. “Would you do that to anyone who found out, Reyna? To those kids you love? Would you do it to me if I was kidnapped and forced to give you up? Where do you cross the line, Reyna?”Bookmark here

Reyna gaped, her mouth moving to try and make words, but nothing could make it out. The more she blinked, the more she realized her vision was growing blurry, and she wiped at her face. Her mask then fell off with her motion and dropped into the water, where she stared at it in confusion. Was she just using it all as an excuse to let go? To attack the world? To make herself feel better? Was she really so fed up that she would hurt anyone in her conquest to sate her revenge? She then made to grab her mask but stared at her gloved hand, where the burn she had received from her father so many years ago still remained.Bookmark here

In her daze, Reiko’s voice pierced the haze, and Reyna blearily looked up at her. “Just stay here and think about that until you won’t melt the next thing you touch,” Reiko muttered. “I’m lucky you didn’t fall right through my tub.”Bookmark here

When she made to leave, Reyna tore her arm from the water and reached for her. “Reiko! I’m…I’m sorry.”Bookmark here

Reiko paused at the doorway and shook her head. “Save your apologies for the next poor soul who crosses paths with Flare.” With that, she shut the door behind her, leaving Reyna to her thoughts.Bookmark here

Reyna’s mind was in a swirl. She collapsed into the ridged side of the tub and let her head rest just above the water as she stared at the ceiling. The only thing that was on her mind now was the pain she had inflicted on every single person at the warehouses, and what she thought of Check.Bookmark here

Check was unbearably annoying but kind. He was like Hoshi that way, Reyna thought, though that realization failed to register in Reyna’s mind. No, Check didn’t give a damn about anything she thought, and helped even when she thought she didn’t need any, just like Reiko, and just like Hoshi…Bookmark here

“What the hell,” Reyna murmured, and brought up her hand to stare at it. “What am I really doing…?”Bookmark here

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