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The Night The Hero Killer Died

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The scent of blood stung Manual’s nose as he headed up one of the streets. He spat a curse and balled his fists, heading toward it. The Hero Killer was in Hosu, and he usually took more than one victim in a spree. Not to mention Tenya was hell-bent on revenge. Earlier that very day, Manual had even lectured him a bit about not chasing the Hero Killer.

Damn it. Damn it. Manual lost sight of him for one second. One disastrous second. Just to subdue one of the other villains. And now Tenya was gone.

The smell intensified at the mouth of a nearby alley. This had to be the scene. There were two bodies laying there, that much Manual could see even from where he stood. He called the other heroes for help, for backup. No matter who was there, Manual was sure their wounds would need attention.

Manual steeled his nerves and ran towards the first body.

The Pro Hero Native, alive but unconscious. Practically unharmed. He was laid nicely on his back. Manual let out the tiniest fraction of a sigh of relief.

But that left the other body. It was probably the source of the stench of blood. That didn’t bode well. Manual swallowed hard and took a step closer.

The other body wasn't laid out nicely the way Native had been. It was curled in on itself. It was definitely not Tenya’s bulky armor. Manual was thankful for that much.

Manual forced himself to approach. The other body was ominously familiar, but Manual didn’t know how. Without realizing, Manual had made it over to check the body’s pulse. Instead he found a messy gaping slash across the windpipe and jugular. There was no way that wound wasn’t fatal. Manual’s eyes roamed up to the body’s open mouth, and the long, thick tongue lolling out of it. It was then Manual finally recognized who the corpse in his arms belonged to.

Manual screamed and dropped the dead body of Stain the Hero Killer. He scrambled away from it like it might suddenly spring back to life. His shoe suddenly clinked against metal. Manual looked down, regretted it, and looked back up.

His shoe had tapped what was undeniably a bloody piece of Tenya’s armor. He had to look back down. He had to make sure his intern was okay.

The piece of armor, Manual discovered, was only the right arm. There was no sign of the rest of Tenya. That was a bit reassuring. If only until he saw the steady flow of blood from the top of the arm. Manual immediately ripped his gloves off to stop the bleeding. The bleeding from Tenya’s severed right arm. Which meant his intern was somewhere. Injured. Alone. Possibly dead.

Manual hugged Tenya’s arm to his chest and tried not to think about how big of a failure of a mentor he turned out to be.

Manual didn’t know how long he had been sitting there waiting for the sirens, clutching Tenya’s arm. He was dimly aware of his name being called, but it didn’t sink in until a heavy hand thumped against his shoulder.

Manual jolted as he found himself face to face with Endeavor. The Flame Hero burned like a star in the darkness of the alley. “Are you hurt?” he asked. His eyes were blue fire. Serious. Dangerous.

“I’m fine,” Manual managed. “But Tenya, my intern…” His voice faltered as he held out the arm to show Endeavor.

Endeavor’s eyes widened in… Not fear. Surprise, maybe. Manual couldn’t blame him. A severed human arm was probably the last thing Endeavor expected the so-called Normal Hero to be holding. “We’re going to the ambulance,” Endeavor said. “On your feet.” He gripped Manual’s bicep and tugged him up.

Manual barely processed he was moving. Endeavor was silent. Manual filled in the gaps with information. “Tenya. Tenya Iida is his name. Ingenium’s little brother. He’s in costume. Armor. Looks like Ingenium’s. His quirk’s like Ingenium’s too, he–-”

“Shoto,” Endeavor barked. Had he even been listening? “Prepare some ice. The Hero Killer managed to get an arm off of Manual’s intern.” Endeavor extinguished his flames and gingerly took the arm from Manual, then nudged him towards the ambulance. A paramedic rushed over to him. Manual reached out for the arm weakly. Questions were asked, but Manual couldn’t keep his mind on them.

His intern was out there somewhere. Injured. Alone. Possibly dead. All because Manual couldn’t keep a proper eye on him.

Fuck.