"The Crushing of UA!"
As soon as the words had left her mouth, Atsuhi was forced to jump back, avoiding a gooey projectile sent her way. She would've stopped to take note of whoever it was that had fired off this attack, but there were far too many people, all unleashing their Quirks simultaneously, for her to be able to distinguish something as trivial as that right now.
"I don't know what that is but it does not sound good!!" Kaminari exclaimed, most likely regretting his decision to tag along with the trio already. Atsuhi tried to raise her voice over the constant sounds of explosions and all sorts of other powers.
"It's a thing that happens every year during-" But she cut herself off, moving to the side to evade both a long metal beam aiming for her feet, and some dangerous-looking bubbles heading her way, only to then jump back, before two people who had managed to close in on her could light up any of her targets.
The weirdest part is... they're not even throwing those balls...
They're probably trying to immobilize us first, otherwise they might waste their only means of passing... It's too hectic for us to try and defeat any of them either.
Atsuhi grit her teeth.
"We need a way to get out of their sight." And just as quickly, she smirked. "Good thing I know just the trick."
Unfortunately for Atsuhi and her genius plan however, she was currently more or less cornered.
With all the jumping and moving to evade attacks, she hadn't even noticed when she had been driven to the corner of a dead-end alleyway. As things were right now, she could neither run, nor even see how the boys were doing on their end.
There's five- no, six people. They're blocking my only way out, but I can't deal with them one by one... I need a way to get past all of them at once.
She glanced to the side.
Well, there's technically only one person blocking my direct path. I should be able to get past him. The problem is, the moment I shift my attention to him, everyone else is going to jump at me.
In other words, what I need is a distraction.
Though no matter how much she thought, she still couldn't do anything but walk closer and closer to the cold wall behind her, back literally pressing up against it this time around, as the six people around her all looked at each other, proceeding to discuss how they should go about this.
Great, I have a few seconds, if I'm lucky enough they'll even start to- Aaah!
Atsuhi jumped a little, almost gasping out loud, as something brushed against the side of her leg. For a brief second, she thought it might have been somebody's Quirk, only to look down and realize it was just a little bush planted in a tall cement flower bed that just so happened to be right beside her leg.
Sure, this is what scares me now. What a hero I am...
Wait a second.
That... could work?
I've got a new ultimate move to test out, after all…
"It's just her, this isn't even enough for one of us to pass!!" The students surrounding her were still too distracted with their arguing.
"Well, once she's immobilized, maybe we can catch those three boys by surprise too, can't we? They're classmates, they gotta care for each other to some extent!"
"I don't know man... You see that spiky-haired guy? The blond one? He doesn't look like it at all to me."
"Oh my God, why can't you boys figure anything out by yourselves!?"
Well, she's right. If I were Katsuki-kun, I could've probably escaped ten times by now.
As she listened though, Atsuhi slowly bent down a little, touching the plant with one hand, before returning to her previous position. Thus, she activated her Quirk. It was only the beginning of the test and she had plenty of time until the six surrounding her came to an agreement, so she let herself raise its temperature slowly at first.
"We know she needs her hands to use her Quirk, so we just bind her hands!! How difficult is that!? Jeez, I swear you'll never pass if I weren't here with you... Rui-san, make some restraints out of your web, and we'll..." But the girl stopped, suddenly turning back to eye Atsuhi suspiciously.
Ah, so she did notice.
The other boys turned to look as well, all of them catching on one by one.
"Is something... burning?"
Atsuhi only smiled sheepishly. It was her time to shine.
"Heat Touch-" she began. After all, what good hero doesn't call out the name of their ultimate move? "Breaking Point!!" As soon as she raised her voice, the temperature of the flower bed beside her skyrocketed, and it went up in flames, while the six students surrounding her all scrambled to either get farther away from it, or put it out before the fire could spread.
Sorry, little plant! I promise I'll plant one just like you when I have the chance. Just to make up for this!
Atsuhi used this momentary distraction to slip past the five. Naturally, the sixth was still directly in her way, no matter how distracted he may have been.
But that's fine. Everyone else is focusing on the small fire. I can take this guy out, no problem.
As she approached him however, the boy (who was the same Rui with a web Quirk that the girl of the group had been addressing earlier) noticed Atsuhi and reached out a hand, presumably meaning to use his power to stop her.
But Atsuhi was faster. She was beside him in the blink of an eye, hand gripping his arm. Rui's eyes widened and he scrambled to free himself.
With his physically stronger body, he pulled hard, only for Atsuhi to suddenly let go, and let him fall flat on his butt.
Though noticing her running away, the other five never managed to catch up to her, as she ran out of the alleyway, frantically looking around for the three boys.
It was almost funny. I hadn't even used my Quirk on that guy yet. He was just that scared I was going to.
She chuckled a little at the thought, only for her small smile to extend into a full grin when she spotted Katsuki not too far away. Making a sharp turn, she ran towards him. She could already see that he too was surrounded by a handful of unique-looking individuals.
"Katsuki-kun!!!" Atsuhi only had to call out to make the students gathered around the boy turn their heads towards her approaching figure. Which, in turn, was enough time for Katsuki to blow them away with a (toned down) explosion.
Soon enough, the two were side by side again.
"Where the hell did you go off to earlier!?" They began running again, as Atsuhi looked for the other two.
"Same as you – fighting off a bunch of people. We don't have enough time! We need to find Kirishima-kun and Kaminari-kun!!" Katsuki looked about ready to protest but settled for a simple 'tch' instead.
"There – beside the overpass," he called out, making Atsuhi turn to look and smirk.
"Perfect! We're gonna go get them!"
This time, there was no need for distractions. Katsuki and Atsuhi just plowed through the group surrounding their two classmates and, when mostly all of them were down (of course, only temporarily – if things had been that easy, the four would've long passed this test already), Atsuhi turned to the boys.
"We're going on that overpass there, okay?" They nodded. "And I want you to stand behind me when I give you the signal!" This time, they looked a little confused but still nodded. This wasn't the first time they were together like this. And they knew they could count on each other.
Glad to be of help!
Once all was set, and the other schools' students were quickly getting up one by one and going on to chase after UA again, Atsuhi double-checked that all three boys were standing behind her and pulled the pair of protective glasses over her eyes.
I should get more use out of these things.
Reaching into one of the compartments of her belt, she took out a small plastic ball from inside it, twirling it between her fingers. And, taking a deep breath, she threw it.
The kids at the front lines briefly stopped, anticipating an attack. When nothing came however, they just shrugged and advanced forward.
As if in sync with their first steps, a loud 'pop' sounded from the ground, and in a single moment, half the overpass was enveloped in a smoke screen.
Once she heard all the surprised gasps and calls from inside the smoke, Atsuhi turned back to look at the boys and nodded, as the four ran off again.
"Wow, weren't those the things you used at the Battle Trial?" Kirishima asked, looking over his shoulder to see the aftermath of Atsuhi's move again.
"Yeah, against Uraraka, right?" Kaminari joined in, while Atsuhi smiled.
"Yup! I call them my 'Heat Grenades'! I just heat them up to make the gas inside expand and burst out! They're pretty cool!"
"Woah! Can't we just... get them while they're all confused and just pass this thing already?" Kaminari asked.
"No fucking way. This thing's gonna clear soon and all the extras are going to attack at once." A short silence followed, as Katsuki’s words cut through the optimistic atmosphere like a sharp blade.
"Katsuki-kun's right. It was meant for us to escape. We'll find a smaller group to pass-" Atsuhi suddenly stopped though, shoulders tensing up. Upon noticing her hesitation, the others slowed down, before coming to a halt as well. Three pairs of eyes were now on her. But as she turned to look back at the clearing smoke, so did they as well.
"It... suddenly went quiet..." she breathed out.
"You're right… There were at least a couple dozen people shouting and crying out up until now. But the voices stopped…?" Kirishima chimed in too, stepping forward.
What happened in there...?
The smoke was quickly clearing and, though it only barely covered even the ground now, there were no silhouettes emerging from it. Kirishima took another step forward.
I really don't like where this is going all of a sudden...
Finally, a single silhouette did appear, the smoke still lingering at his feet.
"Hey, what did you do to all those other guys...?" Kirishima asked, while Kaminari gasped, as if he'd been thinking that if they were to remain completely silent, the new foe wasn't going to notice them.
"Kirishima-kun, it might be best if you get back here..." Atsuhi called out quietly, taking a small step forward, yet she was still nowhere near close enough to even brush a hand against the boy's shoulder. "We don't know what that guy's Quirk is-"
Then, it all happened so quickly, as if in an instant.
The mysterious opponent sharply shifted his eyes towards the group and something shot at Kirishima, both attack and attacker still obscured by the clearing smoke.
That was the last straw.
I don't know where all the people who were here until mere moments ago went... But we're not leaving Kirishima-kun like this!!
In yet another instant, the group of three shot forward, a set of just as many vastly different attacks at the ready. They got much closer to their foe, who appeared as much more than just a silhouette now. In fact, Atsuhi could clearly distinguish his every feature – from his short purple hair and cunning squinty eyes, to the Shiketsu High cap his head adorned.
Huh, I had expected that Inasa guy to be the one giving us trouble... Seems like Shiketsu will always be a torn in our side though. Kinda sucks – I'm sure if the two schools hadn't met at an exam like that, we might've been able to become friends.
Well, not with this guy though.
Atsuhi shook her head. Now was not the time for such thoughts.
Instead, she suddenly realized something.
We're standing exactly where Kirishima-kun should've been... So... where is he?
She looked around, only to find that the smoke had cleared already, yet there was no sign of anybody else.
No, that wasn't quite right.
The smoke hadn't cleared completely yet.
The last of it still lingered barely above the ground, obscuring little beside the four's feet.
Or so she thought. Until that smoke too, had disappeared.
On the ground below, all around the Shiketsu student's feet, was... something horrifying.
There were at least ten, no- twenty of those things. They were deformed, gross... Were they in pain...?
All were questions that remained unspoken, that remained to linger in Atsuhi's mind.
What... are those things...
The color drained from her face, the sight almost making her want to puke.
Those... "things" on the ground... They were not "things" at all...
"Kirishima-kun..." she whispered, noticing how similar one of them looked.
That's right – those were no "things". Those were the deformed and jumbled forms of all the people who had stood there prior. Some were twitching, some were still. But all of them had been reduced to grotesque forms such as these.
Atsuhi wondered. It all looked too scary.
So, what now?
How are we supposed to fight... against a Quirk like that...?