Not so long ago, but in a planet that's certainly far, far away, stood a hero amongst hero named Emilia. She was not just the hope of her planet, Wados, but the hope of the entire galactic civilization. Sure, Wados is a planet full of people born with superpowers, but none quite brilliant like Emilia. But, our story doesn't concern that woman—not yet. Our story begins in a small city in Wados named Shining, where a bunch of people sat around in a very small office.
"Leader, you should just quit smoking while you can. It isn't that healthy, you know?" Tyler scolded his team leader Normal-taro, who coughed like crazy, on his excessive smoking, to which Taro sneered.
"Humph, if you got time for pestering me, you sure do have time for completing the battle reports from yesterday, right?" He said as he threw some files over to his subordinates.
Being the disaster management squad amongst the battle hungry citizens of Wados was difficult by itself. Other than that, the arrival of these so-called villains has been nothing but trouble for Taro and his crew. So, battles occurred frequently in Wados, whereas disaster management crews like themselves, spread out cleaning the massive piles of rubble that these fights leave. They also report on illegal fights.
"Leader, you're heartless!" Tyler cried as he took the reports.
"Better be heartless than jobless." Taro said as he took another puff and coughed yet again. His subordinates looked at him with pity. "What are you lot looking at? Go do your damn job." Upon hearing Taro's order, they scrammed.
"Man, why is it that our leader is such a pain in the ass? The guys from other sectors are lucky. I've heard from my friend that they could just laze around doing nothing!" Random subordinate number 1, who's totally not important to the plot, sighed.
"Well, you do know about our leader, right? Then, why say such stupid things?" Tyler patted on the guy's shoulder, whose name he had already forgotten.
"Yea, it must be hard since you're the only person without an attribute." Random subordinate number chimed in on the conversation, taking pity on their leader, who's the only one above twenty, who doesn't have an attribute of his own.
Unlike his name suggests, Normal-taro is a unique specimen in the glorious planet of Wados. Wadorians are born without any power, like any other normal civilizations. However, by the age of fourteen, their powers dwelling inside them wakes up as their own personal attributes. These attributes can only prosper on their fellow attribute planet, i.e., there's about sixty per cent of Wadorians whose attribute planet is Wados itself. For the rest, their attribute planet might be any one of the thirteen other planets in their Mandora star system. What's the role of attribute planets, you ask? They give out their natural elements as the power of the ones who has that attribute. For example, people living in Shining city who has Wados as attribute planet, usually has light based power, since they are the city of light—their town glows even at night. Mysterious stuff! Whatever the case is, everyone from Wados, the only planet with living beings in the entirety of the Mandora star system, is bound to have an attribute which shows itself when they get to fourteen. Scientists have yet to find the reason of this weird power transfer.
However, everything changed with Taro. He's gonna be twenty-seven in the next fall and yet he hasn't manifested any super-power. His parents sent him to all thirteen planets twice, but to no avail. Disappointed in himself, Taro decided that he would not rely on any higher power, but his body alone. He gave his utmost attention to his body above all other things. He has been conditioning himself and learning martial arts for nearly a decade. Surprisingly in this hero-ridden world, he has yet to lose a fight when he steps into the arena or so he says. His subordinates believes the bullshit he spews, because they have never seen their leader lose a fight.
Upon hearing number 2, Tyler was very quick to change the subject. "Ha, it's one already! Let's go. I've heard that the cool moon restaurant has a new dish on their lunch menu."
"Wait, what about the reports? Did you do it?" Taro, who silently walked by him, asked.
"Leader, you just gave it a few minutes ago! It's not like I can do it within a few minutes." Tyler said, in spite of him having the Time planet's attribute, where the time was almost hundred times faster than Wados—he could've completed the report within seconds.
Taro didn't mind this blatant lie. "Hmm, fine. Let's go to the cool moon then. My treat." He announced.
"Well, the leader tends to be good sometimes, doesn't he?" Number 1 whispered.
"I heard that." Taro said as he placed his hand over number 1's head. "Sometimes? Aren't I always good?" He asked.
Cool moon. The second moon of Wados, named by an astrologer, who's naming sense was utter bullshit. The restaurant was the one situated in this particular moon, jointly owned by that astrologer and a random investor. People didn't need to wear any spacesuits in this moon, since its composition is similar to Wados.
In one of the seats of the said restaurant, Taro sat staring the sky. "What happened, leader?" Tyler asked, concerned about his leader's recent daydreaming spell.
"Huh? Nothing. Just looking around." Taro said as he was forced back into the reality.
"Leader, I heard that you don't like supers . Is it because you don't have an attribute yourself?" Random subordinate number 3, a new guy to the squad asked the taboo question, which was basically a cold rumor along the entire planet.
"Idiot! You don't ask such questions to the leader!" The other subordinates screamed inwardly.
"Well, it's purely job-related. I'm not interested in attribute shaming. I just hate everyone with an attribute equally—except you guys, since you're my subordinates and you tend not to mess up." He laughed. "I can't necessarily say that about the supers or even villains in that case, right? Sure, both the sides might look like they have some noble intentions, but it's not like I care. I just hate everyone who messes up my peaceful time in my office." Taro explained.
"Villains? Noble intentions? Leader, are you villain fanatic?" Number 3 asked, shock still in his face.
As Taro was about to answer, an employee came by, as he saw Taro taking out a cigarette. "Sir, smoking is not allowed here. So, if you please…"
"Ah, sure." Taro threw the cigarette into the ashtray and got back to his point. "So, what were we—yeah, no I'm not a villain fanatic, you idiot. But, villains tend to have sad backstories, right? Almost half of them were the brightest students back in their academy days and were robbed of their opportunities by influential parent's son or daughter who weaseled their way through to the scholarship, just so that they could be called great heroes."
"Hmm, I never thought much about that." Tyler interjected, before going silent soon after, as he got himself into a deep thought.
"Well, your thoughts were shunned out by the mainstream media who glorified these so-called heroes, which brought out this notion of revenge out of these bright kids and turn them into today's villains whom the media label as terrorists. In fact, they are just sacrificial beings created by the society themselves so that the heroes have someone to fight against." Taro further explained the things that he thought were the faults in their society, like an everyday talk.
After hearing all that Number 3 came into a conclusion. "So—you hate the heroes because you don't have any attributes?"
"What? How the hell you came to that ending after what I said? You know what, I don't care. I hate both sides anyway—both sides have their fair share of crazies. Both equally make my life a living hell." Taro sighed. Suddenly his phone rang. "Shit, speak of the devil. Massive destruction in the fifth avenue. Lunch time is over. Let's go."
The squad swung by the fifth avenue as soon as possible. As Taro lingered around the scene, Tyler took the initiative as the assistant leader. "Hey, Nick! So, what happened?" He greeted the police officer, his former batch mate in the hero training program, which they both failed.
"It's as you see. Two individuals fought their way through from here to there." Nick explained in detail. "It seems like these people are not registered into the Wadorian registry."
"Wait, you mean—they're terrorists?" The entire squad came up with the same conclusion and gasped.
"Are you lot flipping idiots? There's just two section of people who aren't registered—me and kids." Taro interjected, belittling his subordinates' thought process.
"Leader, you?" Number 3, who sat in the restaurant, hearing the leader singing praises about villains (described as per Number 3's thoughts), laid his suspicion on Taro subconsciously.
"Yea, like hell I did this. I was with you guys when it happened. There were two individuals, after all!" Taro roared.
"So they're kids." Tyler spoke out as he looked around for clues.
"Fucking kids, who just got their attributes itching for a fight—that's what this is. They can only enter themselves into the registry at sixteen and enter the arena for a duel after registration. So, kids below sixteen, they're our culprits." Nick said as he was reminded of the old rulebook in their training program.
"But, how are we supposed to find these kids?" Tyler wondered.
Taro laughed loudly. "That's easy. It's those two. Scared shitless, aren't ya?" He asked the two kids standing in the crowd, quivering.
"We're sorry." The two apologized almost instantly since they were caught.
"How did he?" The entire squad plus Nick was amazed by Taro's amazing skills.
"Their demeanor was very weird. They probably thought they could escape from the leader's eyes if they stayed near the scene and acted oblivious. Little punks." He explained. The plan to expose the two kids was a double edged sword, since he never actually knew whether they were the real culprits or not. He thanked God, since the kids weren't the ultra-genius kind, who could've fucked him over pretty easily.
"I'm sorry, uncle. I'm the one who forced him to fight." Kid #1 came forth apologizing.
"No, uncle! I'm the one who forced him." Kid#2, pushed #1 aside and tried to take all the blame on himself.
"Ah, you two are good kids. Wait a few more years and you two will become good heroes. But, right now, you are just two dumb kids who did this dumb shit. Now, if I want to, I can probably arrest your parents under the pretense of unguided disaster territory or some shit like that." Taro said. Now that he knew that the kids were—kids, he made up some rules just to scare them a bit.
"No!" They cried.
"But, I'm not gonna do that. I'm gonna leave it at this. I believe you might have learn a lesson from this—that if you ever do this stuff outside the arena ever again, it doesn't even matter if you are registered, this uncle will haunt you in your dreams." He said as he patted their heads.
"Yes." The kids shouted.
"Now scram." Taro said, as he gestured them to leave. "Tyler, clear the scene."
"Yes, sir." Tyler left. Nick followed.
"Your leader is quite talkative, isn't he?" Nick asked.
"Yea, he has an impeccable hearing too." Tyler said, slightly smiling.
"Shit." He thought, as he saw Taro glaring at him from a distance.
After the events earlier, which snatched their well-deserved break, Taro and the troop decided to head to the nearest bar to end that day. "Ah, a cold beer in this warm summer night—how better can life get?" Number 1 pondered as he felt the bliss of life.
Meanwhile, Taro looked as if he was thinking about something. He had not even touched the beer before him. Tyler, who felt this as weird, decided to check up on Taro. "Leader, what happened?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking." Taro snapped out before drinking the beer as whole. He let out a peaceful sigh and continued. "Tyler, if I'm ever to disappear one day, I hope you'll lead the team in place. You will, right?" He asked, basically triggering a death flag for himself.
Tyler was quick to point this out. "Leader, don't plant a doom flag by yourself."
"Haha, you didn't answer." Taro laughed.
"Of course." Tyler looked concerned for his leader, but his answer sounded firm and decisive.
"Well, that puts me in ease. I'm old now, you know!" Taro mocked in an old man's voice.
Tyler sighed. "Leader, you're thirty."
"Well, I'm already an uncle." Taro said as he pouted a bit.
"Hung up about the stuff earlier, huh?"
"You could say that." Taro replied. He sat silently for a moment before getting up. "Well, I'm gonna go out for a walk. Put everything in my tab."
"Yea, sure." Everyone sounded enthusiastic upon hearing Taro's words and ordered a bunch more drinks.
Outside, Normal-taro took a whiff of the night's air—it reeked of smoke. He smiled as he squatted beside someone smoking. He took out a cigarette of his own and started smoking and coughed endlessly. "I think you should quit smoking." Park Sinyim, the waiter from Cool Moon spoke as he took the cigarette out of Taro's mouth.
"If I do that, who will ever be your smoking partner, you idiot!" Taro said as he took the cigarette back and laughed. A couple of coughs sneaked in too.
Park Sinyim was Taro's former hero academy roommate and current best friend. Yes, Taro was enrolled into the hero academy under the norm that he could never enroll into the main course, the hero training program. Hence he took the support course and joined disaster management. Park Sinyim, however, was a hero training program enrollee.
"Hmm, let's go. The ground will look real shiny tonight." Park stood up and reached out a hand towards Taro.
"To the theme park?" Taro asked as he grabbed Park's hand. The theme park was Shining's one and only, which usually was unguarded at nights. They started hanging around that place for the view since their academy days and now it had become a tradition.
"Where else?" He asked as he began walking.
[𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐱𝐲'𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞, 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐨 𝐄𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐚 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐧 𝐖𝐚𝐝𝐨 𝐓𝐕. 𝐃𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐬 𝐢𝐭!]
"Emilia, huh?" Park sighed as he heard it from a TV in a stall whilst passing by. Hearing her name gave him some flashbacks. Why? Because, Emilia was his classmate in the hero training program and the one he lost to in the final duel which gives them the hero student—there's just one hero per batch, so had the galaxy's hope not been in his match, Park might've been a hero by now.
"Shit, man. Emilia's real famous now, isn't she? After she screwed you over and all." Taro sneered. To be honest, he doesn't have a genuine hatred for any heroes or villains—with the special exception named Emilia. He hated her guts for multitude of things that occurred in his past. He was not the kind who let's go of the past.
Unlike Taro, Park always respected Emilia. "Well, a scholarship and power could be bought, but the love, respect and admiration that the people have for her—that's genuine. Honestly, I'm really happy that she's the one who beat me. After all, I can say that the Galaxy's hope was the one who defeated me in the final duel, right?" He asked.
"Right." He said mockingly. Suddenly he heard the clanging of metal from somewhere nearby. Being the isolated pathway that it was, this sound was brought to Taro's attention pretty quickly. "Hey, do you hear that?" He asked Park.
"What?" Before Park could even ask about the details, Taro was already running. "Wait, where are you running off to?" Park shouted as he ran after him.
Taro ran because he found someone's silhouette by the corner of the road. Being the clichéd daredevil, he decided to take the risk and run after it. The closer he got, he realized that the shadow before him was of a child and it had chains bounded to its legs. He wanted to get a hold of that child and ask about its whereabouts. However, when he grabbed its shoulders, the child disappeared as if it was never there to begin with. "Damn it. It's gone." He muttered.
"Man, if you told me already that you were running to the theme park, I would've walked. And what's gone?" Park, who picked up the pace by the end, asked. He was panting—he was nowhere near the hero candidate he once was.
"Huh? Nothing, I guess." Taro, who just realized that he was already at the theme park, snapped back. He treated what happened as his own imagination's work.
"Well, let's get in. I'll pour you some whiskey." Park said, patting on Taro's shoulders.
"Hey, it's summer. Are we supposed to drink that?" He asked.
"What are you saying? There's no seasons for alcohol!"
"Here you go. Cheers."
"Cheers." They drank the whiskey and stared at the bright land. The park was situated at a place where they could enjoy the scenic view when moonlight and shining light merged and gave out an angelic glow. People at Shining, who usually had a hard time sleeping at nights, very much enjoys this image.
"Hey, do you know why the land glows after midnight." Park suddenly asked, which puzzled Taro.
"Well, due to the soil composition, the elements like…" Taro started spouting his science. He was quickly stopped.
"I'm not talking about that. Haven't you heard the old legend?" Park asked yet again.
"Not interested in folklores." Taro brushed it aside.
Park didn't listen and began talking about the legend. "Well, it goes like this. It says that our land glows because it's welcoming the Gods."
"Then why at midnight? Why not always?" Since he already had his legs dipped in water, he thought to venture deep.
"Because Gods arrive at midnight."
"Why can't they?" He was about to probe further when he was yet again stopped by Park.
"There are no questions in the story. If I say so, that's the fact." He proclaimed.
"And this is why I don't believe in children's stories and bullshit like that." Taro sighed.
"Well, not like I care about your preferences."
"Fuck off, I'm going." For some reason, Park's statement rubbed Taro the wrong way and he left the room where they were having their drinks. However, he did take the bottle with him.
"Why so serious?" "What's up with the guy? Getting pissed off because of a children's story. Meh, it's not like I'm not gonna see him tomorrow. We'll settle it then." Park muttered, not knowing that he planted the second doom flag.
"As if God's gonna come to this damn planet! Why that guy doesn't gets his facts straight. But why did I get so angry? Who knows?" Maybe it's the hatred for the planet or it was something about Gods that rubbed him, he was subconsciously pissed. But since he had a rude interaction with Park, he decided to not go back for now and just walk around the park. That's when he saw the little kid yet again. "Hey, little shit. You're back, huh? Wait for me, I'll catch you." Even though he was somewhat confident that his mind was messing with him, his body didn't react accordingly. Instead, he chased after the kid—maybe it's the alcohol.
Meanwhile, Park was having his quiet time, before an alarm started off suddenly. "What is it?" He looked out and saw that the roller coaster was moving. "Why the fuck is the roller-coaster moving? Shit! Where are the breaks, goddamn it?" He ran towards the engine room and looked around for the breaks.
Finally, he found the break lever. He pulled it, yet nothing happened. "Fuck, why isn't the breaks working?" Desperate, he looked around for Taro, checking whether he was by any chance close to the roller coaster. "That idiot!" Not much of a surprise—he was there jumping around alone like a fool.
What Park didn't know was that Taro wasn't alone, at least to him. He was just following the child in front. "Stop jumping around." He yelled before it finally stopped. "Stopped, huh? I'm gonna catch you now, you little twerp!" He jumped onto the non-existent kid. However, he was left with nothing but air in his grasp. He didn't quite notice it.
What Taro also didn't notice was that a roller coaster was on its move and he was right on its path after all that jumping around. "Hey, idiot! Don't go near the coaster rails! What? Get down, you drunk bastard!" Park screamed as he ran over to him with all his might.
"Eh? What did you say?" Taro looked at Park and yelled back. And now he noticed that the non-existent kid was not in his grasp. "Fuck, and now he's gone. Where did you go now—Holy shit?" A little late now, but he did notice the roller coaster when it was seconds away from him.
"This idiot leaves me no choice. Muscle is Justice, full power!" Park unleashed his unique power, 'Muscle is Justice', which increases his muscle mass by about 500%, if he did practice every day. Now, he could only exert 150%, that too for a couple of seconds. "Taro, jump off!" He screamed.
"He jumped off, right? The coaster doesn't look like it's gonna stop. Ha, this is how I'm gonna end, huh? Not as flashy as I thought it would be, but at least I saved one life." Park thought to himself and let out a sigh as he was hit by the coaster. The 150% was not enough. He was satisfied, but an ominous feeling was yet to leave him. "Something's off. Why do I feel something on my back?" He wondered what it was as if he didn't already knew the answer.
 Supes referring to the super-heroes, of course!