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Little Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero

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   The year is 2020. Many generations have passed since the very first superhuman was born unto the world. In our day and age, it’s common for everyone to have some sort of superpower. We call them “sources”. Superhero culture has grown into a staple of our society. Where fictional heroes such as Superman and Batman were thought to be ideas only possible in comic books and games, we now find ourselves in a future where that IS reality. Nowadays, anyone who undergoes the right training and obtains their license can be a hero. It’s treated much like an actor or professional athlete. A career. A dream for people to strive to achieve. It’s what most people desire to be.

Of course, some prefer the more mundane jobs like accounting and such, but joining the Hero Alliance is where it’s at. These heroes are tasked with keeping people safe from people who choose to use their powers for evil instead of good: villains.  But sadly, even though superpowers have become a commonality in our world, many still find themselves being born powerless. The world treats these people as less than human, something to be mocked and scoffed at.

I was born as one such person. I know how the powerless feel being forced to live such a horrible life. I know how “pointless” it is to want to be a hero despite being sourceless. Even so, I have a dream. I, Atsuko “Akko” Kagari, won’t give up! I believe with all my heart that someday I’ll be able to become a great hero too!

 

*BEEP BEEP BEEP  BEEP*

   It’s the last day of middle school here in the Okinawa prefecture of Japan, and Atsuko Kagari is more relieved than excited. As a powerless girl, school in Japan wasn’t so bad. Most people in Japan are sourceless, but it’s her lofty ambitions of becoming a heroine despite her lack of a source that earns her all the bullying she receives. Shaking her head of these thoughts, Atsuko races through her morning routine so that she can get the day over quickly.

“Akko!”

“Coming mom!”

   The girl’s mother was up bright and early as usual. She had already prepared the young aspiring hero’s breakfast and was now ready to drop her off at school. She stood downstairs, untying her apron from around her waist as she sat at the table expecting her little bundle of excitement to come tumbling down those stairs any second. The woman was tall, around 189cm (6 feet!), and her red hair made her stand out anywhere she went, though that’s not the sole reason she stands out.

   No, you see, the mother of our sourceless protagonist is none other than the world’s number one hero: Shiny Chariot! A woman whose heroic deeds precede herself. Wielding her source “Shiny Ray” she stands alone at the top of the hero world, unmatched by any before or after her in her field. She was the one Akko looked up to most, but at home? She was just the mother of the most energetic girl in the world.

   Said energetic girl was tumbling down the stairs right now, and I do mean tumbling, literally. She tripped trying to slide on her skirt as she rushed down the stairs and was now rolling down the stairs grunting and groaning in pain as she hit each step. If she weren’t so used to it by now Chariot would have surely done more than let out an exasperated sigh.

“Pull yourself together Akko! It’s the last day of school for Nine’s sake.”

   “Sorry, sorry! I woke up kinda late ahaha!” The girl moved to rub the back of her head sheepishly, only to wince in pain as soon as her hand made contact. “Ouch! Ahatata!” She cried out as she rubbed her head gingerly.

   “I keep telling you that you need to be more careful dear. You’ll end up hurting yourself if you keep this up.” The heroine came and lifted the child as she continued to wince in pain. “Come now, let’s eat before you’re any later than you already are.”

“Yes Mama.”

Breakfast was quick as usual, and the rush to the car was just as it always was: chaotic.

“Do you have everything?”

“Yup!”

“…”

 “Oh, wait my phone!”

“…”

“Oh, wait my key!”

   The brunette had a habit of forgetting things right as soon as she was about to go. She was what most people would call irresponsible, but Akko just considers herself a bit forgetful! Luckily, she had her mom to help her out, but now they were cutting it close.

As usual.

   “Let’s go Akko!” She called out to her daughter as the child flew straight at the car, opting to hop in through the window instead of opening the door. “Let’s go ma, move it move it move it!” She exclaimed, not even bothering to buckle her seatbelt as she pointed her finger strongly towards their general destination. Chariot was on the same page, slamming her foot down onto the gas pedal and making loud tire scratching noises as they raced to school.

RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRIGNRINGRING!

   Just like that, the last day of school had ended. All of the students happily skipped and hopped their way out of the building, excited for the break before the next school year. Akko was no exception, in fact, she may have been the most excited. Yeah, Akko had HUGE plans for the summer. Plans so huge everybody laughed at her when she announced them to her homeroom class at the beginning of the year. The brunette winced just recalling the embarrassment she felt.

“I’m gonna be the number one hero just like Shiny Chariot!”

   The teacher asked everyone what their plans for the summer break were. Most of the kids are well aware of their situations and settle for more mundane, normal answers. However, Akko is anything but normal. She had a dream, and by the Nine she was gonna see it through dammit! Most of her classmates don’t see it that way though. They mocked her, told her she was stupid for even thinking about it. Everyone knows Akko’s dream is to be a hero. She would never stop telling everyone how she was gonna enroll in Luna Nova Academy when she got older and how she’d be a great hero just like her idol! That earned her a lot of flack from her peers.

   The bullying was cruel and unnecessary Akko thought, but nobody cared. They thought she was stupid for even trying and thought she should give up. They’d beat her up, saying, “You can’t be a hero if you can’t even fight back against some powerless nobodies like us!”

   Maybe they wished to be heroes too and were jealous of Akko’s unbridled confidence that she could do it. Regardless, she endured it. She never once relented in her resolve. She will make it into Luna Nova Academy! She’s been working hard all her life! She knows that her power will come. She just has to believe! Just like her mother would always say after beating the bad guys on television, “A believing heart is your power!” She would always say that, and Akko believed it with all her heart and-

“-ko!”

The brunette shook her head to clear her thoughts. Was someone calling her?

“Akko!”

The brunette looks around and sure enough, it’s her dear mother and idol calling for her to get in the car.

   “Sorry sorry, here I come ma!” She entered the vehicle with a smile plastered on her face, and as her mother pulled off, she began to speak, “So Akko, now that school’s over, you know we have to finish preparing for the big move tonight, right?” Akko nodded enthusiastically, “How could I forget! We’re gonna be right there in Blytonburry! Right in the city where Luna Nova is!” The 15-year-old girl squealed in excitement! Her mother chuckled at the girl’s enthusiasm.

  One car ride and a super long session of finishing up getting everything packed and our two girls were now resting on the floor on a tatami mat as they took in the final sights of their home. Chariot found herself reminiscing how she came to be with this strange Japanese girl.

   Akko was just a baby when Chariot found her after she had failed to save her parents from a rogue villain who’d broken out of jail. She was far too young to have any recollection of the event, but Chariot remembers it fondly. The woman had no intentions of taking on the role of a mother, but because the baby was without a source she was rejected by orphanages and different families alike. So, the woman decided she had no other choice.

   She settled herself down in Okinawa and started her second life as the mother to her soon-to-be number one fan. Akko was not an easy child by any means. She was rowdy and often got herself hurt because she was so eager to develop her source. Chariot wasn’t sure how to handle telling the poor girl the truth. She couldn’t handle breaking her daughter’s heart. Sure, she wasn’t her biological kid, but that didn’t mean anything in Chariot’s eyes. That was still her precious baby girl.

   Eventually, as Akko grew, she learned more about her mother’s identity as the great Shiny Chariot. She became obsessed with Heroes and wanted to be a hero! She got older and older, and her heart grew set on it. Her heroism displayed itself time and time again as she threw herself into danger over and over, hoping to save those who needed help. Even though she was powerless, the child always placed her safety below those around her in need. That was when Chariot made her decision.

   “Akko! Come over here, sweety!” The redhead called out to her child. A ten-year-old Akko rushes from her spot in the kitchen to the Family Room where her mother is patting the spot next to her, motioning for her to sit. “What’s up, mom?” She asked, giving her a look that told the pro hero she thought she was in trouble. She chuckled, “You’re not in any trouble Akko, relax a bit.” The child did just that. Chariot ruffled the young girl’s hair as she smiled, “You’re a very brave girl Akko. I know how much you value heroes and how much you want to protect those in trouble. It’s very admirable of you y’know?” The Brunette beams as she takes in the compliment smacking a proud hand against her chest, “I have to be brave mama! I’m gonna be the best hero there ever was someday, just like you!” The redhead couldn’t help but chuckle. “I know you will sweetie, but,” Chariot’s tone shifted, “you can’t continue to act recklessly and get yourself hurt. How do you think that would affect me if I lost my only daughter?”

   The child looked down at the floor in shame, knowing her mother worried heavily every time she found her at the scene of a crisis trying to help out. “I’m sorry mama, but I can’t leave people to just get hurt when I don’t know where any pro heroes are!” She looks up at her mother with desperate, teary eyes, “I know I don’t have any powers now, but even so, I can’t stand by because of that! When innocent people are getting hurt around me, I can’t help myself. The only thing I can think of is, “I wanna save that person,” and nothing else! Please understand mama.” The child sobbed a bit as she looked into her mother’s eyes. They were soft and understanding. Chariot could tell how serious her daughter was about this. She put a loving hand on the girl's cheek, wiping away tears that threatened to spill.

   “It’s okay Akko. I know how you feel, and I know I can’t stop you from doing what it is you do,” the brunette perked up, “but I won’t allow you to continue like this.” The small child was confused now. “What do you mean, mama? What else can I do?” She asked, tilting her head in confusion.

   The pro hero stood up, put her hands on her hips, and stared down at the child, “How would you like for mama to train you to be a great hero Akko?” The child’s eyes grew wide as they twinkled with delight. Her excitement soared through the roof! Shiny Chariot, her idol, her mother! She was gonna train her to be a hero! “Let’s do it mama!” She jumped up from the couch and stared back into her mother’s proud eyes with fierce determination. “I’ll be the best hero in the world if you teach me!”

   Chariot remembers it like it was yesterday, and no doubt Akko does too. Since that day, for four years now, Chariot has been mentoring Akko training her body and mind for one special day. The day she reveals everything to her and sends her off to start her journey to becoming the hero she always dreamed of. She smiled to herself contently as she felt herself drifting off into a deep sleep beside her beloved daughter.

   The next morning was a rowdy one, no doubt. The mother-daughter pair had to rise early in the morning and hurry up to make it to the airport at a decent time. They made it with time to spare and had a small breakfast before boarding their first flight.

   Normally, Chariot would prefer to stay out of crowded areas such as this when she was with Akko. It made it hard to keep her identity as a mother a secret, but she managed to figure out an easy-to-pull-off disguise just by wearing a pair of thick round glasses and a blue wig. It made her a bit hot, but it was worth it to keep Akko from being targeted. Two flights later and the two foreigners were finally in Blytonburry, located in England: a small town that housed the world’s most prestigious Hero School in the world.

   “Aww yeah! We’re finally here mom!” cheered the brunette excitedly. She was pumped! In just a few months, she’d be taking on the entrance exams of Luna Nova! As the two stepped into the cab Chariot called to transport them to their new home, Akko made it very clear how excited she was. She was shooting off at the mouth even more than usual. Even Chariot couldn’t keep up with all her excitement!

   “How the girl manages to be so energetic after all that is astounding,” she thought with a heavy sigh. The ride there was much of the same, with the girl’s face plastered to the window as she took in her surroundings. She had never been anywhere outside of Japan before, so this was all so new to her! The people, the buildings, the food she spotted from vendors, everything was so fresh!

   Soon, the pair arrived at their new home. A fairly modest-looking house, but it was still much grander than the house they had occupied back in Japan, and that was enough for Akko to be a little giddy about it. She was more than excited to explore the house, but Chariot swiftly reminded her that that would come after they finished unpacking and settling in. So, with this task upon them, they set to make quick work of the unpacking process. Or at least as quickly as they could. It took them all day, and even still, they had some things left to unpack, but for now, the two needed a serious break. The two ordered some dominos and sat down at the table in their new dining room to eat.

   “Thank the Nine! We haven’t eaten since we got to the airport this morning!” Akko let out a sigh of relief as her stomach grumbled in anticipation. She opened the box up swiftly, taking three pieces before happily going to town. “Slow down Akko! The food isn’t going anywhere!” Her mother reminds her to watch her pace as she grabs herself three slices. “Now,” the heroine starts up, “Tomorrow, I have to make a few runs and get ready to start my normal hero duties, so you’ll be alone for most of the day. Can you handle that right now Akko?” She raises an eyebrow at her daughter. The brunette was all too eager to respond with a thumbs up, “Sure thing! Easy peasy!” Chariot nods as she continues, “You can go out and get familiar with the town tomorrow, but don’t go too far out. I don’t want you to become lost.” Akko grabs her sixth slice of pizza as she gives her mother a playful salute, “Yes ma’am! I won’t go too far and I’ll be back at a reasonable time!” She giggled. Her mother could chuckle in response to her daughter’s antics. “I’ll hold you to that then dear.”  She gets up from the table and places a kiss on her baby’s forehead. “Night Akko,” she says as she walks down the hallway to her bedroom. “Night mom!” Akko calls back as she watches her mom tiredly waddle to her room.

   She spends a few more minutes stuffing her face before deciding to turn in for the night. As she lay across her new bed in her new home in a new country, she allowed herself to decompress a bit. She had been rather excited all day, but she was still rather worried. She was strong, she was athletic, and she was a talented martial artist thanks to her mother’s training, but she still doesn’t have her source yet. Getting into Luna Nova would be impossible without one! What was she going to do? She knew she had to believe, but time was running short now. She had only two months before the Luna Nova entrance exams, and if she didn’t find her source soon? She’d be done for.

"Not only that, this isn’t Japan anymore."

   What would she do if people found out she was powerless? She would be bullied all over again, no doubt. While she never let the bullies in Japan get to her because they, too, were powerless, it’s different here in England. Everyone here has powers it seems like, and if she was found to be the odd one out? Well, she knew she’d never live it down. Maybe she should just…stay inside? She let out a tired sigh, “What am I gonna do Chariot?” She stared at the poster on the wall. An image of her idol plastered right there, reminding her of her ultimate goal.

“I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…”

 

*BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP*

  Akko was yet again awoken to the sound of her noisy, but necessarily so, alarm clock. Bashing the top of it tiredly, she begrudgingly opens her eyes to find it's 8 AM and her mother is likely already gone out for the day. Usually, Akko would sleep the day away, but she had a new town to explore! Besides, she’d already woken at this point. Going back to sleep would prove more difficult than you might think. So, she opts, instead, to take a shower, have some cereal, and then tackle unpacking the rest of her things in her room. By this time, it’s now 1 PM, and the girl feels accomplished.

   “Yoshaaaaa!” She flops back onto her bed, excitedly throwing her fist into the air. She shoots upright and grabs her shoes from underneath her bed. “Let’s hit the town Akko!” She says to herself as she pulls on a pair of skinny-fit blue jeans and a white Shiny Chariot T-Shirt. She takes her shoes to the door with her as she checks herself to make sure she has everything.

“My key!”

   She drops her shoes at the door and rushes back into her room to grab her key to the house. She was gonna need that to get back in if Chariot made it back before her. “Okay! Now I’m all ready to go!” With a big smile plastered on her face, the Kagari girl takes her first step out of the house to venture into the new land she’s found herself in.

   As soon as she does, she instantly can feel how different England is compared to Japan. The air, the atmosphere, the mood, everything looks and feels different from her homeland. It’s clear to Akko that she’s in a completely foreign country now, far away from her home in Japan. She’s gonna have to do a lot of familiarizing.