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Appearing at the finish line Horizon sees the stadium only a hundred meters away down the dirt track, not even a single student has made it through the gateway and onto the track, yet he grabs the banner at the finish line.
"WINNER!" Present Mic's voice rings out, reaching the crowds in and out of the stadium, like music to his ears.
He drops the banner and starts taking a casual stroll back into the stadium. All the camera robots along this stretch of the course turn and focus on him, so he takes his time to give everyone a good look at their future hero.
Both hands in his pockets he listens to Mic hype him up, a wide smile beneath his visor.
"First place goes to Horizon! No surprise there when you put a warp user in a obstacle race folks!" Mic's voice echoes through the stadium and outside to the nearby crowds and competitors.
"He's the Class Rep for the famous Class 1A, one of the most talented sets of students UA has ever had, credited with taking down the USJ Nomu on his own and he even acts as our counter to other Warp Quirks, a pillar of security for everyone around him!
It's no surprise that he's favored to win this whole tournament, especially when you know his Quirk can do a lot more than warping!
Supposedly already so skilled and talented that if he were a Pro they'd have to make room in our top 10 for him!"
Horizon sees a large burst of frost erupt from the narrow hallway and stops, taking in the sight of a few Hero Course students avoiding Todoroki's attack and pulling ahead with him.
"He's even a world-class doctor at only 16!" Mic announces loudly, catching even Horizon off guard, "With hard work and talent, all bolstered by having the single most powerful Heal ability in the world! He's a real tough contender for MVP in any party!"
'Did Nezu tell him more about me?' Horizon wonders.
"But these aren't the words of this announcer folks! The super genius behind UA, Principal Nezu confirmed all of this himself, this is why one year ago he broke his iron clad 'no scouting' policy to get Horizon into the Hero Course, he's simply playing on a whole other level!"
'Nezu definitely told him that part...' he think while arriving at the frozen students. Some lament their failure, others crying, not because their feet were frozen to the ground, but because this was their only real chance to transfer into the Hero Course.
And Horizon sees them look up at him with admiration, jealousy, and even a hint of fear and worry as he reaches where the ice is, surely shaken by Mic's announcement.
He warps back into the arena not far away from midnight.
It takes a moment for people to realize what just happened, then the entire stadium shakes with uproar and applause, the public finally getting a glimpse of what his Quirk is, now understanding why he was so integral in defending UA during the USJ incident.
"Your first-place winner for the obstacle race!" Midnight proudly announces as his name appears on the scoreboards.
Horizon waves back to the cheering crowd as Mic continues announcing what happens during the race.
As everyone focuses on the race Horizon quietly makes his way to the seats on the third level reserved for his class, aware of all the eyes on him from the Pros in the audience. As he expected, and pays no mind to.
Even as Endeavor's fiery glare drills into his back while he walks out of the arena.
Walking to his seating area he sees Nezu already there, a large tablet in his hand with numbers constantly flowing across the screen.
"Don't you always act as the umpire for the 3rd year games?" Horizon asks, taking a seat beside his principal.
"Normally yes, but I need to keep an eye on the security systems due to the increase in villain activity, Ectoplasm is filling in for me."
"Ahh, makes sense, and you gave Mic how much information about me exactly?"
"Only what he announced," Nezu says. "He was the one who actually asked me about you after the Obstacle Race was decided, it was very obvious who the winner would be, so he wanted something to get the crowd all riled up."
"Always the showman," Horizon says.
"You're one to talk, you've been rather pleasant in the public eye. From your social media profile, to the interview you had, to how you've acted today, it's quite remarkable, and just a little bit scary."
"Well it's not like I've ever lied, I just say things in more pleasant ways...even if it is really damn exhausting."
"Yes, but I'm sure it's worth it for you," Nezu says as Horizon takes out his phone. "Shouldn't you be watching the competition?"
"Not really, I doubt any of these people can even make me sweat," he shrugs and starts scrolling. "My followers doubled, nearly 7 Million already, how many people are watching the games live?"
"Hmm," Nezu fiddles with his tablet for a second. "Nearly 300 Million, I'm sure as more and more people get interested they'll search for you online and find your profile."
"Well best to give them something to chew on," Horizon starts uploading a few files. "There, just put that picture of me and the Pope on my profile, and sent some anonymous information about me to the press, all about the world traveling miracle doctor Horizon."
"The public will surely love you, a capable hero that isn't camera shy," Nezu chuckles. "Most heroes don't work the popularity aspect of their job enough, even though it's a clear factor when determining hero rankings, among other things. The people need to know about you to know that they can count on you after all, by the time you graduate your media presence should be quite good."
"I'm looking for better than just good," Horizon says, putting away his phone and watching the games. "I plan on entering the top 10 directly after graduation, maybe I'll make a big push and take the number 1 spot... that'll surely get me what I want."
"Hmm, I thought your plan was to win by showing how capable and dependable you are?"
"It is," Horizon nods as he chooses his words carefully. "But these people," he gestures to the crowds. "They're too stupid for that, they like shiny flashy things. If being capable is all that mattered Endeavor would be rank 1, he's got the most resolved incidents in the history of heroes after all, but clearly, it's not enough. I'll be more capable than Endeavor and more beloved than All Might, that's how I'll win..."
Nezu smiles and focuses on the race, "I'd expect nothing less from you, as our future Symbol Of Peace..."
As the other students arrive at The Fall, a massive hundred-meter-wide pit with flat pillars littering it, all connected by heavy-duty cables, Bakugo takes the lead.
Showing off his unrelenting resolve and desire to be the best, he just barely edges out Todoroki who has to skate across the cables by simply flying across the obstacle, widening the gap between them.
"Flying huh..." Horizon mutters, now seeing a girl with pink dreadlocks using some support equipment to hover above the ground and slingshot across the pit.
"Oh, I was always curious about that," Nezu says.
"Why can't you fly?"
"That's a weird question to ask someone," Horizon says, seeing Shoji spreading his arms to do small glides from pillar to pillar, overtaking most of the competition to get the eleventh place.
"I just assumed you'd be able to fly like most people with Telekinesis, either by holding your own body...although it's extremely rare for people with such a Quirk to be able to affect living things. So I assumed you'd do the usual approach by controlling something like your clothes or shoes to fly around," Nezu explains.
"Tried that as a kid," Horizon grumbles. "It's literally the first thing I did when I created TAKT---"
"TAKT?" Nezu asks.
"My 'Telekinesis,' I wasn't lying when I said it's more like I command the world to move and it obeys. Because of that, it can get messy if I try to move multiple objects in sync for delicate tasks, since it's more like I give and control a vector to an object instead of wrapping it in energy and moving it."
"Ahhh," Nezu immediately gets the picture. "So you nearly pulled yourself apart with it..."
"Something like that, and even if that doesn't happen the clothes will just get torn off me," Horizon grumbles out.
"But on the plus side, that means you can use it on anything while most Telekinesis Quirks require you to make contact first, like the 1B student's."
"I'm not telling you my range, but yeah, it helps if I'm closer and can see the object at least," Horizon says. "But if you were in your office right now I could throw one of the couches in there at your head, while sitting way out here, wouldn't even have to do more than flick a finger."
"And is there a weight limit to what you can lift?" Nezu asks.
"Not in the same way that Urarak has a weight limit to hers, my Quirk doesn't have limits like that."
"So you always say, and how are the new shoes treating you, I didn't notice any difference," Nezu says.
"They look the same, but these are boots," Horizon pulls up the leg of his pants to show the change, dress shoes visually but providing a lot more support for his shift into being more brawlic. "Perfect for kicking in some teeth."
Nezu chuckles nervously, "don't forget you're supposed to be a hero..."
"KATSUKI BAKUGO TAKES SECOND PLACE!" Mic screams at the crowd, and everyone erupts into cheers as Bakugo enters the arena, followed closely by Todoroki and Iida.
"They all looked pissed," Horizon says.
"Well second place isn't enough for UA students," Nezu says. "Not to mention Iida came fourth because he stepped on a land mine, I'm sure he wanted to win since this is a race, his area of expertise, and his brother is probably watching."
"Oh yeah, Ingenium, guess that's where he'll be interning."
"Oh yes that request came in days ago," Nezu says, hitting a few options on his tablet and bringing up a massive list. "Your internship requests have already hit over one thousand, and it's only the first round, Todoroki is trailing behind with two hundred."
"Not surprising, if he ever grows a brain he'll be useful with that Quirk, too bad he's a tactless meathead like All Might."
"You really shouldn't be hard on them, they are still students after all."
"Explain that to the villains that want them dead, and things will only get harder for them when villains watch this and learn about them. In my case when I explain my Quirk villains will start running away from me even more..."
"Well that remains to be seen," Nezu says as the students begin pouring into the arena.
"So, can you tell me what the next game is gonna be?"
"I'm not allowed to, but since I don't think it'll matter for someone like you, it's a Cavalry Battle," Nezu casually says as the first twenty people arrive in the arena.
"Ugh, teamwork crap...actually, how specific are the rules?" he turns to look down at Nezu, a mischievous aura wafting off him.
Nezu gives him a curious look, not sure how to feel about this, "well, what do you have in mind?"
pat.reon (5 Chapters ahead): Keanu_Eugene