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          “Do you think we have enough items for this fucker?” Came the mumbled curse from Dynamight, his blond-haired avatar’s style looking extra spiky with the haircut he’d gotten from the barbershop. It wasn’t that bad of one, which was a relief, and sort of looked like his actual hair. Shouto wasn’t sure about all the hairstyles that came out; a lot of them seemed extremely tacky. The first time he had seen RedRiot!’s trademark bright red hair that was spiked up and held back with a bandanna, he had really questioned what exactly the game devs were thinking when it came to clothing choices. And no one spoke of the actual travesty that was Dynamight with short combed over hair. Granted, Shouto wasn’t one to talk concerning character appearance- he had been a bit extra and gone with the split color hairstyle for his character but he thought it had style. 

          Shouto looked over at the chat as it buzzed by before looking back at the game, mousing over to his inventory with a hum, “I have a stack of High-Grade Drake Tonics and some Grade V Mana Potions still. You think that we’ll need more than that?” With his wizard spec’d more towards elemental magic, Shouto was constantly on a balancing act. His Fire magic burned through his Mana fast, while his Ice magic regenerated it fairly well. So every fight he was in needed careful planning as he needed a tiny bit of mana left after using his best fire spells to regulate his mana consumption with the ice spells. Mana potions were a necessity in case he slipped up and needed a quick burst of magic to get his mana recovery cycle rolling. The tonics were a must given the number of status ailments this thing could throw around.

          All he got was a scoff from the other player, “You might just need fucking potions, I have to actually prep for this shit if we’re gonna do it tonight.” Dynamight’s avatar knelt on the ground, lowered his goggles, and pulled out his alchemical crafting gear. After a second of setting it up, he got to work blending and mixing ingredients about, the flashes of ‘Inner Focus - Quality Up’ and ‘Careful Mixing - Efficiency Up’ flying up from his character. Dynamight’s character was a Grenadier-spec’d Alchemist, so going in without ammo or the right type of bombs would get them both murdered. Shouto had it mildly easier with his Elemental Wizard build.

          The Elemental Wizard was both his favorite aspect of My Hero and the absolute bane of his existence. Dual-Aspect magic was a pain in the ass to cultivate in the game, as it required you to level both aspects independently through research and then know how to integrate them properly. In terms of difficulty to achieve, it was considered a Rank A class, with only a few classes exceeding it. The Alchemist class his gaming partner was using was far easier to achieve but was a nightmare to maintain. The recipes may be easy to find, but getting the ingredients needed for them was a constant hassle. They were built in opposite ways in that regard- the first part of the expansion for Shouto was spent using kilometers of research paper formulating the spells he needed while Dynamight was out gathering and crafting the items he would need.

          Then the two would power-level their way through the leveling to get to the end-game and destroy the raid bosses. It was oddly cathartic, especially after he’d been forced to leave home and move in with his streaming friend. While he waited for the other player to finish, Shouto checked the stream’s chat, which was the usual running banter that descended into late-night shitposting during their late-night sessions.

 

                              > > > EW is really weak againstt this one!

                              > > > You guys think that the balance is off since last patch

                              > > > I just ,,, why GA Dynamight?! They nerfed it so hard!

                              > > > See me fighting the Devs in a parking lot

                              > > > Have you tried the new dungeon yet Ice?

 

          “I haven’t yet- the Demon King’s Tower though, right?” Shouto says after seeing the dungeon from the new patch come up in the comments, “I’ve heard good things about it, but mostly narrative things. Not really what I care about, but I’m glad that the team did a good job with it?”

          “It’s lame as balls- the Demon King isn’t even in the fucking tower, you fight his asshole son,” Came the grumbled voice of Dynamight over the voice chat as he finished up his work in prepping his ammo for the fight to come. “Good mechanics though, I’ll fucking give it that. They have a mid-fight arena change and it looked damn good.”

          Leaning back in his gaming chair, wincing as it squeaked from him doing so, Shouto hummed, “Think they might be gearing up for an engine overhaul then? I mean they’re porting the game to the new generation of consoles; even with faster load times, eventually, it’s going to look pretty stale in the graphics department by comparison.” He stretched for a moment before grimacing at how dry his throat felt. The stream had been going on longer than he had expected, and his water bottle had run dry a while ago.

          “Alright, before we hop in I’m gonna re-hydrate- chat, sound off on your thoughts about the new dungeon, I’m curious how everyone’s been experiencing it. Good or bad, and is it better than the Plains of Asthorn from the last patch?” Shouto smirked as he pushed himself out of the chair with that last comment, grabbing his water bottle and throwing his ‘Intermission’ sign onto his chair. Already the chat was filling up with ‘Ass-thorn’ repeatedly, as it should be. When a dungeon is so bad the company has to apologize and rework the whole thing, you know the bar is low for new content. Again, narratively, he heard that Asthorn was actually not bad. But if the mechanics were shit, then who cared?

          Shouto walked out of his room, looking into Bakugo’s room for a moment, “Need anything from the kitchen before we get started?”

          The blond rolled his eyes and flipped Shouto the finger, “Fuck off, go get your water so we can beat this shit-tier boss into the ground.” Shouto rolled his eyes, running a hand through his bleached white hair, pushing the bangs out of his way as he went to the kitchen of their small apartment and filled up his water bottle. Even just gaming for a few hours was enough to burn through his water bottle, but streaming was even worse. Bakugo was at least loud enough that when they were both streaming My Hero, his roommate could do most of the chit-chat.

          It wasn’t because Shouto was shy- he hadn’t used his voice much growing up, and it wasn’t until he started streaming that he had been forced to use his vocal cords for an extended period of time. When he had first started out, his voice had quickly gotten raspy and he had to take frequent breaks to chug water. Even the directed lights to make him easy to see on his webcam gave him issues- the light gave him headaches pretty fast. In general, his body was just not made for streaming, and it gave him constant issues. Thankfully, his audience was very understanding; plus, Bakugo had intervened and stood up for him when Shouto began to get more attention online.  While usually, the blond’s grating personality meant he had as many critics as supporters (or stans, or whatever the word was now), the Internet had decided that ‘jackass streamer stands up for his quiet newbie friend’ was something even they could get behind.

          Once Shouto had his water and was back into his chair, he double-checked the chat one last time before they dove into the raid fight. Once he had scrolled past all the ‘Ass-Thorns’ and the inevitable ‘stfu w the meme it was dead 2 months ago’, the streamer got to the current responses.

 

                              > > > Dynamight’s complaining about resource cost again lul

                              > > > Yagi said hotfix w buffs soon right?

                              > > > Asssssssthoooooooorn

                              > > > Do you think Aizawa-sensei is gonna give on that?

                              > > > Daddy Yagi bless us with them buffs!

                              > > > Pretty sure they had the right idea Dynamight rekd last tourney

                              > > > Still got his ass beat by Lemillion lmao

          

          “You ready?” Came Dynamight’s annoyed growl over the voice chat and Shouto snorted, adjusting his headset and microphone as he flicked his mouse back over to the game, standing his character up. 

          “Sure thing- Still, I think we should probably have more people with us. Even having enough items will make this dicey... we’re dealing with the Premonition of the End here,” Shouto muttered as they approached the entrance for the raid boss’s arena. 

          It would be frustrating to stop now after they had spent an extra long stream tonight grinding through the rest of the gauntlet that was the new end game raid, but these things were built for four players usually. Just the two of them would be a bit fucked and it was starting to make Shouto rethink agreeing to continue running the rest of the dungeon with Dynamight after the rest of their raid team had logged off for the night. All of the raid had been much more horror-oriented than usual, with a haunting choir and pipe organ serenading them as they dove deeper into … whatever this was. If Shouto had paid any attention to the story he’d probably get what was happening.

          The Premonition of the End was the final boss of the raid and they had heard that he was nail-bitingly hard. The Big 3, the team that Lemillion was a part of, had only managed to clear it today, and they were some of the best players in Asia when it came to the game.

          “Fucking- you agreed to this and I just made an ass-load of ammo. Let’s go!" Roared Dynamight over the voice chat and the stream’s chat filled with their fans cheering them on so Shouto gave in, not that he was fighting very hard to begin with. His character jogged down the twisted hallway and pushed open the large dual doors that closed off the final boss’s arena. In the center stood the large shadowy being, a writhing mass of tendrils and muscles. One of its arms was massive, with gnarly claws and metal twisting out of it, its multitude of red eyes trained on the both of them.

          Shouto gulped a bit, “Dynamight, it's a close quarter’s fighter isn’t it.” Dynamight swore under his breath and the both of them regretted not having RedRiot! with them still to summon a dragon avatar to tank the boss’s damage.

 

                              > > > asfghjkl his face

                              > > > rip your asses

                              > > > good fucking luck!

                              > > > My joy at watching Dynamight get his shit kicked in is overwhelmed by my despiar for Ice

                              > > > You two can do it!! Just watch out for its wind-attribute blasts, they’re brutal!

                              > > > FUKC IT UP!!!

                              > > > Dude this boss looks gnarly

                              > > > holy shit the damage?!?!

                              > > > Dynamight prepped the wrong ammo?

                              > > > DODGE WIND LEFT SIDE!

                              > > > How was Dynamight to know?

                              > > > That knockback what the fuck

                              > > > You can’t tell me the devs don’t know what they’re doing here

                              > > > MANA POTION!

                              > > > MANA POTION

                              > > > MANA POTOIN!!

                              > > > Its physical damage is so high why tf does it have magic?!

                              > > > MANA POTION!!

                              > > > can’t geven get fire IV off before it aggros him fml

                              > > > Whoever said this is easier than Galactic Q are goddamn liars

                              > > > OH FUCK TENCTACLES???

                              > > > HELL NOOOOO

                              > > > Whys Dyanamight hitting IcePrince

                              > > > WHY TENTACLES AGAIN?!

                              > > > Oh ffs-

                              > > > Its got a charm ability holyi

                              > > > Is there a way to bait it???

                              > > > How do you bait something with two people

                              > > > Let Ice fireblast Dynamight in the face please  devs

                              > > > Yikes

                              > > > 50k damage WTFFF

                              > > > No ice dodge!!!

 

          Shouto groaned as his character was hit by the combo of Dynamight’s explosives and the boss’s wind area of effect blast, pushing away from the desk to hold his face in his hands for a moment. The streamer was annihilated and he ran his fingers through his bleached hair as he quickly removed his headphones. He didn’t pay too much attention; with just Dynamight left, the battle would be over quickly. Most of their raid team was usually pretty squishy, but could absolutely destroy when it came to raw damage. PikaPika’s sniper abilities could disable enemy effects easily, and RedRiot! could use his Dragon Avatar or Dragon Aspect summonings to serve as a physical wall for the rest of them. He was getting the awful impression that Dragon Avatar wouldn’t be enough this time.

          “FUCK THIS SHIT-!” Came the enraged shriek from his roommate and Shouto was very glad he had remembered to remove his headset after a defeat like that. Bakugo could barely control his volume at the best of times- if he could hear the other guy’s scream from his room, Shouto really didn’t need the hearing loss that would have happened if he had kept the headphones on. 

          Sighing, the white-haired streamer looking to the chat, which currently was either laughing at his roommate or congratulating them on trying. “Okay guys, that was a lot tougher than I expected. Good music though- Present Mic’s scoring is flawless as ever. Sounds a bit like …. Shadowlord, from the Nier soundtrack?” He shifted his weight forward, clicking on the ‘Yes’ option present alongside the ‘You have died - Resurrect at [ Musfara Central Plaza ] ?’ The swish of the teleport sound accompanied his screen going dark as the game loaded up the town Shouto’s in-game home was at.

          “How did the Big Three manage this with just one more than us?” Shouto grumbled as he looked over his gear. It was as good as he could get it for this boss, given the Premonition gave out the highest level gear at the moment. “Chat, was it Lemillion’s Mistwalker abilities? They’re a pain for the developers to work around, so I could see if it gave them the edge they needed.”

 

                              > > > Suneater turned into a t-rex

                              > > > Druid powers!!!

                              > > > It was crazy, Suneater turned into a dinosaur??

                              > > > MR is so op fml

                              > > > I wasn’t even aware it was a thing by suneater became a dino!

                              > > > They had Suneater turn into an augmented TRex, it held aggro

                              > > > Mistwalker helped a lot too though and Spiralwave came in clutch

                              > > > Lemillion was the only one left alive it was nuts

 

          Yeah, that was about the answer Shouto expected, though he was also shocked that apparently, they added in a T-Rex transformation for the Beastmaster Druids to use in battle. “Shit,” He groaned, leaning back again in his chair suddenly exhausted by the lateness of the stream. He wasn’t sure what exactly he expected from the new raid, but all of this was … not it. Maybe RedRiot! with his Dragon summoning magic would be enough to hold the aggro, but everyone knew that the Dragon Summoner class was a soft tank at best. Really they needed a paladin or a barbarian if they wanted to do this right. Or a Beastmaster, apparently. How much did you want to bet the dev team hid the t-rex in there specifically cause they knew the Big Three could find it and use it for this fight?

          Sparing a glance towards his door, Shouto cleared his throat, “Dynamight, you have any ideas for this mess?” His roommate had finally stopped his swearing and had settled down and teleported back to his home town too.

          “Not without RedRiot, but even then...” The blond-haired streamer trailed off and huffed, “I have a couple of ideas but we might need to see if we can have someone else swing by to help us out with this one.” Which was going to be a bit of a struggle. Most of their friends weren’t into the hardcore-raiding aspect of the game, and with their highly technical classes, they needed someone who would synergize well with their raid team.

          “Calling in help is unusual for you,” Shouto noted as he took a sip of water. There was also that little fact, that Dynamight was abrasive and hard to work with. It’s why the entirety of their raid groups ended up being people they knew in real life as friends. It was either that and integrate themselves into a hard-core raiding guild, and the last time they had tried that Dynamight had ended up in a screaming match with some of the other members who disagreed on how best to play the class. The two of them had promptly gotten kicked and had never tried again.

          The other streamer let out a little huff, “Yeah well, sometimes you have to do what you have to fucking do. Not a stranger, though; I have a friend of mine who might be willing to help us out. He’s not into raiding really, but the nerd is still really good. Obnoxiously good."

          Shouto blinked at that, “He’s not into raiding but he’s that good? Does he do Tournaments?”

          “Nope, the idiot doesn’t play in the tournaments,” The blond seemed almost... smug with the way he said that as if he knew something that Shouto didn’t. Which really wasn’t that hard. The white-haired streamer was a streamer and influencer in name but he was about as plugged into the culture of the internet as his Father had been. He was just slow to pick up on other people’s social habits and understand what jokes were and how they were funny. It wasn’t that Shouto didn’t have a sense of humor, rather that he just didn’t get it sometimes. A lot of times. His brain just refused to wrap its way around the jokes. “All you need to fucking know about my friend is that his class is a Divine Sword Paladin.”

          That made him freeze- if Elemental Wizard was A Rank in difficulty to achieve, the Divine Sword was the SSS rank in difficulty. The entire process to become one was unknown, only that to achieve it you had to not only be the best of the best but also incredibly helpful and cooperative with others. The sort of class that someone like Bakugo could never get and more casual players like Mina would never dream of reaching. Not only did Bakugo know someone like that, but was willing to bring them onto the team to help clear this absolute nightmare of a final boss?

          A small grin managing to appear on his face, Shouto nodded, “Ask your friend about his willingness to come online and help us.” He looked at the clock as a small yawn interrupted his words. 

          “Maybe tomorrow huh? We stayed up way too fucking late....” Bakugo grumbled in his ear.

          It was probably for the best; they had things to do tomorrow before streaming again after all. “Sounds good- hear that chat? Seems like it’s finally the end of the stream. I appreciate everyone sticking with us throughout the night and our first attempt to clear the Premonition!” Shouto did a small wave to the camera, “Sleep well, we will see you tomorrow evening at the usual time. Good night.”

 

                              [ THE STREAM HAS ENDED ]