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That Lonely Star (My Hero Academia/Exalted)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by QafianSage, May 18, 2019.

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  1. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

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    You never denied that praying to entities in Creation wouldn't follow the same rules. If their are gods in MHA, I wouldn't presume that they follow the same rules as Exalted, but for an Exalt praying to his Celestial patron in Yu-Shan, and an AN that specified differences, but did not include one for prayers, made me feel it was safe to assume so in this scenario. :)

    Edit: I did make one assumption though, that a prayer made on Earth could reach Yu-Shan...but considering Izuku has an arcane link to Ignis, I didn't think it was beyond consideration.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
    QafianSage likes this.
  2. Sweaty_Spaghetti_Guy

    Sweaty_Spaghetti_Guy Your almost a virgin...

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    • Once more, do not necro. This is against Rule 7.
    UPDATE
     
  3. QafianSage

    QafianSage Ascending Ape

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    Despite the necroing, I do want to thank you for... well, essentially reminding me that this exists and people care about it. Stuff has been kinda crazy, as I imagine you know. I'll... try to find some time to work on it.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  4. Index: 4: Training and Revelation
    QafianSage

    QafianSage Ascending Ape

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    4: Training and Revelation

    The next day, Izuku returns to school. The air is tense, prickly as whispers spark from mouth to mouth: did you hear- have you heard-. It’s uncomfortable, profoundly so, so Izuku does his best to bury himself in the work. It’s not easy. He deliberately doesn’t draw upon his Essence and works at the level of his own skill, without his Quirk.

    The work is still easy. Not as fast, but that’s more because of how quickly he can write than because he doesn’t know the answers. Even when he doesn’t draw upon that solar brilliance, his mind is a furnace - Or perhaps a star, he thinks after leaving a physics class, Fusing light, individual elements into heavier ones.

    When time for a lunch-break comes he climbs the stairs to the roof, eats quickly and spends the remainder of the break practicing martial arts forms. There’s a rhythm to them that’s easy to get lost in; they’re strenuous, certainly, but with time his body becomes better able to handle that strain - much slower than his skill advances. He’s beaten by his teacher and upperclassmen in spars at the dojo, but rarely because he can’t see the next good move. It’s that his body can’t respond in time, or can’t exert the force or get into position to channel the force effectively enough to counter or defend or land a good strike, at least without using his Quirk. “Conditioning, conditioning, conditioning,” Asano-sensei says. “It’s never enjoyable, but there is no substitute for it - not even for you.” He grins sardonically as he says it, but it’s easy to see the wavering mote of jealousy there, and in the other students.

    It’s strange, being envied. He can see why they would; his Quirk is, with all humility, incredible. It’s a little gratifying, in one sense. In another, it both terrifies him and makes him feel terrible. Terrifies, because no-one has ever envied him before, desired what he had. Many of their classmates had envied Kac- Bakugou. Was that, in part, what had twisted him up inside? Makes him feel terrible, because he did nothing to earn this power, this Quirk. Quirk is the right word: A quirk of circumstance lent it to him - how many other people must have wanted to be a hero but were denied because this Exaltation power went to him?

    But, one area that his Quirk doesn’t seem to help him with is pure physical conditioning, so he launches himself into that. Asano-sensei provides advice, as does his own research into the matter online and in various libraries. He doesn’t take the bus to school anymore, rising with the dawn, making an early breakfast and running. The plan that coalesces over the following weeks is a punishing regimen, carefully kept within what he can safely handle but always pushing the boundaries. Izuku goes to bed exhausted every night, and more often than not aching in a dozen places, but as time passes the bitter work begins to bear fruit.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    The fist comes from the side. Izuku ducks, then counters the spinning kick. He moves to turn the counter into a hold that would flip the other student to the floor, but retreats from the tail which follows the motion through with whip-force. The combatants break apart, both sweating.

    “You’ve gotten much better, Midoriya-kun!”

    “Thanks to your help, Ojiro-sempai,” Izuku replied, hanging back on the balls of his feet, hands open and loose. Preparation and acceptance of the other’s blows into your own motion is the core of the Crane Style he had chosen to pursue. Accept, overcome, transcend, teach. He’s still working on the first two steps, for now.

    “Again,” Asano-sensei says. Izuku waits, his smile faded to a serene curve of the lip. His Essence flows cool and clear within.

    Ojiro bursts into motion, stepping powerfully forwards with a swift one-two punch. Izuku steps back to evade the first, then pushes the second to the side. The blond martial artist ducks under his backhand, slipping into a low, sweeping kick. Izuku hopped backwards again, then caught himself with a foot and sprung forwards as Ojiro rose again to his feet, directing a left-palm strike to the shoulder. It connected. The blond spins with the force of it and Izuku capitalizes on his success, capturing the other boy’s arm with his right hand while keeping the weight on his shoulder with his left. They fall, and a moment later Ojiro is on the mat, one arm held behind him and with a bent knee pressing his back down.

    “I yield.”

    Izuku climbs off him and helps pull the other student to his feet before stepping away and bowing.

    “Well done, both of you,” Asano-sensei says. “Your technique is improving rapidly. Izuku, your conditioning is showing results as well. That said, sit with me.” They do so, settling into seiza on the mat.

    “I have told you both before that practicing forms on one’s own generally only serves to embed errors. The same principle applies to sparring against a limited number of people. You learn only how to counter those people.”

    Izuku and Ojiro nod in unison.

    “This applies here,” Asano-sensei continues. “There is only so much I can teach you, and you can teach one another. Furthermore, your entrance exams for UA are approaching, and you should get some practice in on other opponents before then. Therefore, I want you both to consider this.” He holds out a pair of pieces of paper. Izuku takes his. It’s a pamphlet, advertising for an amateur martial arts tournament. He flips it open and takes in the contents with a moment’s exertion. Three categories - one for all Quirks, with only minor limitations for extremely-dangerous powers, one for body-enhancing Quirks only, and one in which Quirks were not permitted. The last is billed as ‘a contest of pure skill’. The tournament is not for two months yet.

    “You do not need to do this,” Asano says, “But it will help broaden your horizons, I think, and to help prepare you to face opponents with many differing fighting styles and abilities - which is, of course, what you will be signing up to do as heroes.”

    He climbs to his feet. The two students follow suit. When Izuku glances over towards him, Ojiro is looking down at the pamphlet intensely. “You need not decide now, but you should make your decision sooner rather than later.” He put a hand on each boy’s shoulder. “You are my prize students,” he said. “I wish you both were more interested in pursuing martial arts itself as a career, but that is your choice, and either way I want to see you both go as far as you can. If you decide to enter, I will pay your entry fees.”

    He steps back, releasing them. “We’ve done good work today. I look forward to seeing you again next week.”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    He brings the leaflet to his mother, who looks through it line by line after dinner that night, then sits beside him as they look up the competition online for good measure. It seems well-known and well-respected, something of a staple of the junior martial arts scene. He asks Inko whether she thinks he should go. She replies that it’s his decision, and that he’s grown so much since his Quirk came in.

    It hurts, a little, that she puts it that way. But the sentiment is well-meant.

    In the end, he can’t make the decision right away. He puts the leaflet on his desk, leaving it to the side of his laptop, and climbs into bed. His dreams are confused, a chaos of faces and names he can’t remember. He remembers the sun, though, and fighting, and white, grinning teeth flecked with red. When he boils rice for breakfast, he has the aftertaste of some unnamable spice on his tongue.

    School is… well, as school is. Not too hard, more than a little awkward when he spies Bakugou’s ashy spikes in the halls. He takes the leaflet with him, and thinks about it when he has free moments. Should he? It probably would be good practice. And, from what his research has said on the practical side of the heroism business (and isn’t that an idea that gnaws at him when he thinks about it; the heroism business), it’s all about popularity, about being known, about having your face and feats out and about. If he did well in the competition, or even won it, it would be a start for that kind of popularity.

    School lets out in the afternoon, and Izuku turns the pamphlet over in his hands as he wanders home. The internal debate is winding down, turning from ‘Should I do this?’ more towards ‘How should I talk to mom about this?’ It made sense. It’s just…

    He’s afraid.

    The last time he was in a fight, a real fight, his whole world turned upside-down. The sludge villain was terrifying enough on his own, but Ka- Bakugou might have died as well. And then, his Quirk. It wasn’t a bad thing; far from it, but it had changed everything. And it doesn’t make sense to equate a refereed competition to a desperate fight with a villain, but he can’t help but do it anyway.

    Movement catches his attention, out of the corner of his eye - something moving strangely against the dispersed mass of students. When he looks, it’s gone. When he looks away again, it’s there on the edge of his senses. Almost translucent, a cluster of distortions in the air.

    His breath quickens, and he’s suddenly hyper-aware of the warm Essence surging through him. Is it a villain? Just the Quirk of someone in the school he’s never seen used before?

    He looks back again, narrowing his eyes. Now he looks again, he can just about catch the edge of them, where the light falls slightly wrong. And then, like a stereogram falling into focus, he catches the right way to look, and he can see them fully.

    They’re strange, indistinct things, like shreds of cloud or vapour. There are the faintest suggestions of more distinct features - a wing here, an eye there - but little beyond that. They don’t seem to be doing much, just… hanging around near some of the students - notably, the ones using their Quirks. Looking around, no-one else seems to see them.No-one is reacting, or wondering whose Quirk is at work.

    He blinks and they vanish, but he has the trick now. He can make that shift of perception, and bring them back into focus.

    What do I do?

    Should he go to someone? Talk to the school’s principal? To the police? To his mom? Should he just… ask someone else if they can see the things? What if they can’t? What if they think he’s crazy? He feels the absence of a friend to talk to like an ache, a missing limb.

    He spends another several minutes there, watching the strange blobs. They really don’t seem to do much; merely hovering around and occasionally drifting towards people when they use their Quirks. They start to remind him a little of jellyfish, drifting here and there without much intention. Eventually, satisfied that they don’t seem likely to do anything bad imminently, Izuku sets off home. It isn’t a terribly long walk, but he’s filled two pages of a notebook with observations, speculations and possible courses of action. His mom isn’t home yet, so he lets himself in and goes up to his room. He fills another two pages before he reaches the point of just going around in circles. He sets the pencil down on the desk and falls back in his chair. The ceiling wheels above him as he turns.

    Am I just overreacting?

    The question, welling up from inside, almost catches him off guard. So, he saw some weird blurry… things, and they didn’t seem to do much. Is that a reason to get so worked-up?

    Probably not, he concedes. I shouldn’t be so panicky about it.

    Suddenly feeling the confinement of his room, he climbs to his feet and goes over to the window, pulling it open. Out of curiosity, he makes that shift of perception again. A dozen indistinct blobs of light hang in the air outside his window like strings of strange lanterns, or blots of watercolour paint against the canvas of the world. One bobs closer, as if to come through the window. On instinct, Izuku stretches out a hand to push it away. He feels the faint, warm pressure of it, like pushing against a bag of warm air, and it bobs away again.

    ...On second thoughts, maybe it is a little urgent.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    In the end, Izuku doesn’t bring the… things up at dinner, or ask his mom about them. The ritual of the evening meal helps calm him down a little, though, enough for the memory of an article on a science news website to prick him.

    Afterwards, he opens up his laptop and tries to hunt the article down. It doesn’t take long. The article itself is more pop-science than something like an academic paper, and dated from almost two years before. “After several years of investigation, Quirk researchers at I-Island and other locations around the globe have presented a paper with strong evidence for the existence of entities belonging to what may be an entirely-new branch of biology, and possible links to the Quirk factor itself,” it begins, then lays down some background, referencing sightings by many people with sensory Quirks, going back years before the study itself began. Eventually, enough piled up that it was deemed worthy of investigation.

    The article is a little vague on the details of the study itself, but indicates that although the scientists were still having difficulty when it came to reliably measuring the phenomena with instruments (dubbed ‘independent Quirk-related entities’, or IQREs), they had discovered methods to do so by using established methods of monitoring Quirk-use and activity. The entities seemed to be attracted to Quirk-use, for an unknown reason, and produced enough of a disturbance in the readings - and disturbances distinct enough that different entities could be distinguished from one another - that classic instruments could confirm their existence to within an acceptable degree of reliability. That, combined with the fact that multiple Quirk-users had reported being able to perceive the entity in various ways, made the scientists confident enough to publish the paper, positing a link between the entities and Quirks themselves.

    The article leaves off there, but it’s not hard to go further. Izuku can’t get a hold of the paper itself without getting through a paywall, but the internet provides. As the evening wears on, he follows link after link, from official discussions to forum pages. Looking back, it seems as though the study had ignited something of a furor online. Plenty of people thought it was nonsense, calling it pseudoscience and even occult bullshit. Others leaned in the other direction completely, digging back through history and spinning theories about how this or that figure or mystic might actually have been a Quirk-user, and their Quirk was just subtle enough to go unnoticed. A little more trawling reveals other, more recent studies into IQREs which have tentatively confirmed that there’s something about Quirk use that they seem to be attracted to.

    When Izuku finally looks down at the clock in the corner of the screen and realizes it’s nearly midnight, he decides to call it for the night. As he’s getting ready for bed, though, he catches sight of the competition pamphlet on his desk. He picks it up and turns it over in his hands. Somehow, he feels like the distraction and worry of this other thing has helped him come to a decision.

    He will compete.

    He puts the pamphlet to the side and climbs under the covers. He’ll have to train hard for the next while.

    That night, he dreams of gods.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    So, this took a while, no? I could claim that all the everything going on in the world is what delayed it, and partly it was that, but to tell complete truth it was more that I just didn't really do this, somehow.

    In any case, it's here now, and I hope you enjoy. As always, comments, corrections and discussion are all more than welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2020
  5. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

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    Happy to see this updated :D

    Not sure if you were going for a blatant invisitext, or if it is just a case of the style I use being different than yours, and thus an accident, but Exaltation is the same color as my background.

    Made a small edit on my last post, just saw it, and realized I had made a mistake, but not sure how you would lean on it. Not important now anyway.

    Hope to see more!
     
  6. QafianSage

    QafianSage Ascending Ape

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    That was deliberate - the invisitext isn't so much what readers can't see, but rather my way of portraying Izuku's unconscious knowledge.

    And I hope to give you more. :D
     
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