“We need a plan!” the hero riding a cloud shouts.
A villain stumbles over his own two legs. He's being pursued by two heroes but he's got them on the backfoot. He feels like two pros chasing him down when all he stole was a handbag is a bit overkill but apparently he's giving them a hard enough time that they need to regroup and rethink their strategy which absolutely does not inflate his head in the slightest. That's not his quirk.
He throws his anchor item a good distance away and teleports to it as he escapes further ahead.
“THIS IS REALLY BAD!” A deafening voice knocks him off his feet.
“We only have one more chance!”
The villain rolls aside and escapes just as the cloud hero descends on him. He throws his anchor again and teleports—
“WE NEED TO THINK OF SOMETHING ALREADY!”
—directly into the voice again. He falls out of the air like a dead bird. And despite his repeated failures he still seems to apparently have the heroes panicked.
“Thinking, thinking!” The cloud hero takes a swing at him with his staff.
It's honestly flattering how much worry he's causing the heroes, Loud Cloud and Present Mic, from the local agency. If he can humiliate these two maybe his boss won't make him sleep on the thumbtacks again!
“TENSEI CAN'T BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE!” another vocal attack is aimed his way.
Wait, that's not— “that's not my name!” the villain says.
Loud Cloud zips by on his cloud. “He's thirty-two seats ahead of us!”
“Whatever! Point is we need to unseat him by next year!”
This is when the villain realises that neither hero is actually paying him any attention despite both trying to arrest him. They're more concerned discussing a completely different person as they scream in his direction and throw staffs around.
Loud Cloud snaps his fingers as he twirls his staff over the villain's head. “We could start some unsightly rumours!”
“SECRETLY OF COURSE!”
“Y'know, it's not a very secret plan when you're yelling it across the city, right?” the villain points out. He squeaks and narrowly avoids another whack from Loud Cloud's bo staff.
“WE DIDN'T ASK FOR YOUR INPUT!” Present Mic carries on the attack conversation that doesn't involve the villain.
“It's funny cos just yesterday i heard he wet the bed until he was twelve years-old!” (the villain hops over Loud Cloud's attempted trip.)
“I HEARD HE STILL USES BEGINNER CHOPSTICKS!” (the villain dodges sound waves that throw dumpsters into the air.)
“Apparently he has an outie belly-button like some sort of depraved deviant!” (the villain narrowly avoids tossing his anchor car keys down a drain.)
“WORD IS HE'S THIRTY AND CAN'T DRIVE!”
Loud Cloud pouts. “I can't drive either.”
“Oh. Yeah—uummm, he can ONLY TYPE USING HIS POINTER FINGERS!”
The villain throws his car keys again and teleports directly into a suffocating cloud; he stumbles out coughing and hacking. “Hack—ack, what's your assholes' beef with Ingenium? He's a pretty sweet hero, I wish he was kicking my ass right now and not you idiots.”
“Pretty sweet enough to vote for?” Present Mic side-eyes the guy.
It suddenly connects as to what the heroes are talking about. “Hell yeah, I voted for him!”
“Tsk! ANNOYED!” (the villain is blown back onto his ass.)
Loud Cloud floats down on his cloud and whispers consiprationally with his partner. “Okay, okay, switching flight lanes. Bro, if we arrest him he can't vote for Tensei next year.”
“Ah!” Present Mic freezes upon realisation. “Tensei's fans can't vote for him if we arrest them all! Dude, you're a genius!”
The villain looks between both heroes. “Don't like that look you guys got goin' on...”
Because the pair suddenly look a whole lot more sinister with new resolve. And suddenly all of their attention is on him now as they continue to converse about Ingenium.
“If you think about it we're doing him a favour,” Present Mic says as they approach and the villain giggles nervously. “He's been stressed lately.”
Loud Cloud handles his bo staff like a police baton. “His hairline's receding from the stress. We have to do this for him. We have to save his hair, Mic.”
“HE'S JUST JEALOUS!” and suddenly they're on the offensive again.
“Tensei's Class-B inferiority complex is sad, bro!”
“WHY'S HE FREAKIN' UPSET ANYWAY, HE'S RICH AS HELL!” (the villain throws his anchor but his car keys are blown back into his face and he teleports to the spot he's already standing.)
“I don't see him stealing birdseed from the local park to feed his babies!”
Present Mic pauses. “Dude, you're seriously doing that?”
“Don't judge me, okay,” Loud Cloud averts his eyes.
“Sounds to me it's youse guys who're jealous,” the villain mutters.
“WRONG!!” Present Mic petulant shriek finally hits its target proper and the villain can feel his bones rattling in his own skin before a staff greets his head between his eyes and he goes down and is enveloped in cloud.
“That's one fan down!” Present Mic crows in victory. “A-and… many thousands more to go...”
“I'm kinda getting the impression i've been an afterthought this whole time, hah?” the villain moans.
“It takes one to start!” Loud Cloud, ever the optimist. “We've got this! We're gonna win!”
“Yeah! We're not gonna lose that bet!”
“One step not to better things but to bringing Tensei down to our level!”
“Hah!” whilst the two heroes are preoccupied with their premature victory lap the villain wrestles his arm free and throws his car keys, vaporising himself out of the cloud and directly into a constricting scarf some distance away. He trips flat on his face.
“Whoops,” Loud Cloud says as Present Mic grimaces. “Thanks, Eraser.”
The man in question drops from the sky, retrieving the cocooned villain, winding him in and dragging him face-down through the dirt. “It's not a real teleportation quirk as its appearance may first suggest. He's simply travelling at extreme speeds to his anchor item—he can't travel through physical objects or the like.”
“My secrets...” the villain whines.
“Damn, we where too distracted,” Present Mic glumly admits. “This is all Tensei's fault.”
Loud Cloud laughs.
It shouldn't have taken all three of them to apprehend a simple purse-snatcher but Eraserhead knows his two friends needed to blow off some steam on an easy job. He also knows they require his constant supervision.
Most days life as a hero was nothing more than a long string of incredibly mundane jobs—which was undeniably a good thing because the world was safe and citizens were comfortable, their society securely smooshed into the comforting bosom of the number one hero's reign of security.
Eraserhead rescuing a family of ducklings who fell down a storm drain with his capture scarf (and then being attacked by the mother duck in front of a horde of onlookers and the child who called). Present Mic clearing snow off the city streets by screaming down the road before any snow plough can arrive (and then dealing with the noise complaints at 5am). Loud Cloud rescuing an ugly cat from atop a tall telephone pole that was actually a weird skunk (and he was banned from their agency until the lingering smell was dealt with). It wasn't what he had imagined hero life to be like but it certainly wasn't unwelcome either.
What was unwelcome where his two business partners arguing over the recent hero rankings...
“Top 50 bay-beeeeee!” Hizashi cheers and takes a bow.
They were all in the lounge of their agency building when the whole situation began.
Oboro throws the magazine, Weekly Hero, to the table with a scoff. “Literally fiftieth place.”
Hizashi stops congratulatory shaking hands with invisible people and leans over, pointing in his friend's face. “Someone's bitter they didn't make top 50!”
Oboro folds his arms with a pouty lower lip. “...fifty-first place, I can't believe it.”
“I'd rather be in the bottom five-hundred than one—one place behind you.”
Oboro rolls his neck with a resigned sigh. “So where's Shouta placed?”
“He doesn't want to know,” Shouta mutters.
“Like 70th or something down there,” Hizashi replies flippantly.
Oboro picks up the magazine again and flips to the back pages. “You're 84th place.”
Shouta grunts. “I didn't want to know.”
“Mister grumpy,” Oboro pokes his gloomy friend with his finger as he speaks. “You should get in front of the cameras more! We need to raise this agency’s profile.”
“If I could only make it out of the top one-hundred entirely I wouldn't have to attend those ridiculous ceremonies anymore.”
“You're not listening to me, are you?”
Shouta steeples his fingers in thought. “Who else do I need to offend to accomplish this...” and Oboro just shakes his head.
“Oof,” he sucks his teeth. “Nemuri is 37th, she ain't gonna like that,”
“Tooooo be fair,” Hizashi sing-songs. “She's a teacher so she doesn't get as much action as us independents. Kinda hard to rack up the points taking down biggie villains when you're busy wiping some kid's ass.”
Oboro snorts. “Her kids are, like, fifteen, bro, she's probably not doing that.”
“Anyway Tensei is in 19th place,” Oboro finishes his report of their entire friend group. God, they have no friends.
“Top 20!” Hizashi squawks and Shouta lifts his cup seconds before the no.50 slaps the table. “No! How's he so much higher than us!? I mean, I know but! That's so annoying! I'm so annoyed and proud and goddamnit, Tensei, i'm happy for you, yo, and—ugh!”
Oboro leans forward, rubbing his temples. “We only have one more year to beat him or we lose the bet.”
“I-i—” Hizashi looks on in horror. “I can't do that. I'm not built for it.”
Shouta watches his two friends have an existential crisis with some semblance of amusement when the phone rudely interrupts his free form of entertainment.
“Oh!” Hizashi springs up. “Let the most popular hero here answer this!”
With a comical roll of his eyes, Oboro kicks his feet up and waits for the report. “This is true suffering,” he mutters and Shouta smirks.
Eraserhead tightens his capture weapon around the villain.
“Owwww,” the villain whines. “Don't take your frustration out on me, that's not very professional. What's your ranking, hero? I'll vote for you next time if you let me go!”
He tightens his scarf some more to the tune of more whining. “You can vote for Ingenium from prison.”
“Wait, what?” Loud Cloud jerks.
“He can!?” Present Mic yelps. “Our plan was doomed from the start!”
“I told'ja we have to let Eraser sweat the details,” Loud Cloud moans and now Eraserhead (and the villain) are subjected to their complaining until the police arrive.
As they wait sometimes Eraserhead thinks: it might be nice to be an underground hero instead.