There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 4: Denka’s Ability
Volume 4: The Newly-Built Ancient Ruins
The training of all superpowers began from the fundamentals. It didn’t have to be a really focused, dedicated approach; the point was to just use it again and again. In this way, the superpower muscle gets tired out, has to rest, and then recovers. After that, the muscle would be a little bit stronger than before.
At the start, however, this muscle wouldn’t be able to bear prolonged or repeated usage, and so fundamental training at this stage generally wouldn’t take much time. To her relief, Ruu-denka learned that she wouldn’t have to sacrifice time spent strolling or tending to her flower bed.
We procured a voltmeter from a factory downtown using the grand duchess’s authority. According to the readings, we determined 2.2V to be her starting voltage.
Dry batteries generate 1.5V. It is at 10V that us humans would feel a small shock. We die from 50V, most home electrical appliances pull 100V, electric eels generate 750V, and lightning is several hundred million volts. In light of all this, Denka’s starting voltage wasn’t too high and wasn’t too low. It was stronger than a dry battery, but weaker than two dry batteries.
Electric superpowers were quite popular in works of fiction. When I performed my large-scale transplant experiments before, electrokinesis also turned out to be pretty common. The rarity of this power was low, but its adaptability was quite high.
The simplest usage would be to punch with a fist clad in electricity. To get a bit more creative, one could throw a spear of electricity or shoot electricity from one’s hands. Upon mastering the power, one could perhaps bring down lightning, manipulate the electrical impulses within their own body to attain supernatural reflexes or high-speed movement, or create flashes to blind one’s enemies.
With the help of the voltmeter, we accurately worked out Denka’s growth rate. Her output grew as 2.2V → 2.42V → 2.662V, which worked out to a rate of 1.1. At the lowest output, she could keep it up for 10 seconds. Adaptability training was going to be needed to extend that time.
With 16 rounds of growth, her output would become 10V, which could be considered barely on the threshold of being useful in battle. Now, whether that would be flashy enough to “look cool” is up for debate.
From prior cases, we knew that most superpowers hit their growth ceilings after 20 to 40 rounds of growth. There were only ever two cases that exceeded 50 rounds.
In order to supply the power needed by her home appliances (100V), Denka would need to go through 40 rounds of growth. Going by the math, 200 rounds were necessary to reach the output of Thunder Crash. Odds weren’t great for Ruu-denka becoming a real-life Queen of Thunder1.
The 1.1 growth rate really hurt her chances. If it was 1.5, then she could attain Thunder Crash with only 45 rounds, which would make it a lot more realistic. Then again, how realistic was shooting electricity from one’s hands anyways?
Ruu-denka was, speaking generally, a talentless person. She was bad at studying, bad with physical activities, and sorely lacking in artistic creativity. Being able to accept that as her reality and dedicate herself solely to motivating and propping others up was her strength. Even so, she appeared very glad to have her own power, something that only she alone could do. She had a blast making her hair stand up straight and making a mini light bulb blink for no reason, playing with her power like an innocent child with a new toy.
I totally understood how she felt. The point wasn’t how strong the superpower was; it was the very fact of being able to use a superpower that was a source of joy. It was incredibly fun imagining ways to use the power and actually trying them out. Perhaps the most fun part of possessing a superpower was right after Awakening to it.
……However, the more fun something was, the sooner it seemed to pass.
Ruu-denka turned out to be another victim of cruel, cruel reality.
Eight days after she Awoke to her power, her growth stopped. In other words, she went through only 3 rounds of growth, attaining only a final max output of 2.928V.
She turned out to be talentless even in the field of superpowers.
[Nu-uh, it’s gone down to 2.8. It’s getting weaker. Seems like my maximum really is 2.928V.]
Denka was sitting on her own bed in her room, touching the electrodes on the voltmeter in her lap and nonchalantly reporting the readings.
Kaburagi-san had been supervising her fundamental training as an aside to their regular chats, but the unexpected state of affairs led to me being called in as well. We had Ruu-denka give us a few more readings to be sure, but the number only went down as she grew more and more tired. Kaburagi-san also looked the voltmeter all over, but then shook her head. There was nothing wrong with the voltmeter.
Apparently, Ruu-denka really had hit her growth ceiling after three rounds of growth.
[How about growth pain? Do you not feel the growth pain anymore?]
[None at all. I don’t feel like my soul is cracking open and sucking in the chaos of the world anymore. It means that I’ve stopped growing, right?]
[……Yes, it does. Unfortunately.]
That was indeed the sensation unique to superpower muscles.
What the hell am I supposed to do with this? “You can train it up!” sounded cool to say, but she’s already hit her ceiling before getting anywhere with the training. The ability to emit static electricity at will is, well, better than nothing, but not by much. In battle, the most it can do is give someone a tiny shock. The duration for which she could maintain it isn’t even enough to power a home appliance. And with only three rounds of fundamental training, there’s probably not enough output to apply applicability training to. Talk about a letdown.
Truth is, I had previously considered the possibility of something like this happening.
Maybe someone would Awaken to a power that could only blow themselves up, or a power that would only throw their senses of taste out of whack, or a power that would be super inconvenient to use and would only bring the user harm. Maybe there would be an esper whose power stops growing after a single round of growth, or perhaps deteriorates over time. All of these. Could. Maybe. Happen. To. Someone. That was the extent of how much I’d thought about it. After all, if infinite growth was possible, then it made sense for severely limited growth to be possible as well.
It made sense, but why did it actually have to occur?
The sole source of comfort was that Denka wasn’t depressed about it. But that in turn made me depressed about it.
Talent, talent, talent!
I remembered when I was in P.E. class in elementary school and found myself unable to perform a back bar flip2. The teacher reassured me that I could definitely do it eventually. I thought so too, at the start. After all, I wasn’t the only one in the class who couldn’t do it; there were quite a few others who were the same. However, those kids gradually succeeded, one by one. I practiced more than anyone, but to no avail. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do it, and had no idea what I had to do to become able to do it. I thought there was a certain trick to it, maybe with the bar, with the way I swung my body, or with the timing. But I couldn’t grasp what that trick was, and nobody could tell me what it was. So I couldn’t do it. The more I practiced, the more I wanted to cry. I ended up being the only one who couldn’t do it no matter what. Even though I’d worked so hard, I still couldn’t do it. Anger welled up in me. All these other kids who had barely practiced at all could do it like it was the most natural thing in the world. Eventually, I got sick of it and learned to give up, in so doing climbed a step towards adulthood in the negative sensAAAHHHHH THE TRAUMAAAAAAA! It didn’t bother me in the slightest, all right?! Now that I can use telekinesis, I can do all the back bar flips I want!!!
[Why did Sago seem on the verge of tears but then suddenly turned angry all of a sudden? Is his head all right?]
[He was probably empathizing with you but then flipped out somewhere along his train of thought.]
[Really? Hey, Sago, is that true? Did Kaburagi guess correctly?]
[Eh, ah, um… yeah.]
[Whoa, that’s amazing! Kaburagi, you really do know Sago well. How about you two get married already? I want to see you in a wedding dress, Kaburagi.]
[I’m terribly sorry, Ruu-denka, but there’s only one person in this world that I intend on showing my wedding dress figure to.]
[Oh my god! I love that kind of thing!]
Ruu-denka clapped both hands over her face and kicked her legs furiously in excitement.
I had expected a funeral mood, but instead got jumped by talks of a wedding. Just what had happened. Even though I didn’t possess pyrokinesis, I felt like I could emit flames from my face at the moment. Please stop with the public execution.
But still, Ruu-denka loves this kind of talk far too much. Wait, no, she’s still 17. Without her country and her position, she’d be just a high schooler. I guess this is normal, huh.
Ruu-denka truly was talentless, and she truly was not bothered by it. She had wants, such as wanting to build her country up and wanting a superpower, but wouldn’t be put out even when things didn’t work out. As the saying went, she was truly satisfied with her lot in life.
During the past three weeks where I’d been observing her, I found myself surprised again and again at how she could derive so much joy from the most trivial things. Candy was delicious. The flowers in her flower bed bloomed. Someone greeted her when she passed them in the corridor. She had the ability to earnestly appreciate things that most people took for granted and had gotten so used to so as to not feel anything from.
She was an amazing person. She was much younger than me, and as she herself admitted, was none too bright. However, she possessed something far more precious than a sharp mind and overflowing talent. Perhaps my offer to grant her a superpower was unnecessary concern coming from a place of condescension.
[Going back on topic, unfortunately, your powers are not nearly strong enough to do any actual fighting against the World Shadows. I hope you’d pardon me saying so, but you’re honestly not much different from a normal non-esper. Therefore, chances of a World Shadow targeting you for your power is extremely slim.]
[Is that so? That’s a relief. I’m bad at fighting, you see. And I don’t like getting hurt, either. And it’d be scary. Having to fight with and defeat endlessly appearing enemies for the rest of my life sounds really scary. I think that the way how you two and Amaterasu — that’s what it’s called, right? — can keep at it is really amazing. Seriously.]
Ruu-denka shuddered once.
When you put it that way, it really does sound scary. Anyone who Awakens to a superpower would then become under constant threat (though TPO3 would be fully considered) by an endlessly spawning enemy who seeks to devour them. A brittle mind might break under the stress. Even a mind that isn’t brittle might become unsettled.
Over the next few days, we also had Ruu-denka attempt some adaptability training. As expected, however, her fundamentals were far too shallow to make anything out of. In the end, her final specs remained at “emit static electricity for at most 10 seconds.”
However, it turned out that the talentless Ruu-denka wasn’t entirely talentless. She apparently had ridiculously good compatibility with the PSI drive technology.
Normally, a PSI drive running on an esper’s blood would be capable of amplifying that esper’s power by several fold or several ten-fold. The Demon Lord Suicide Transferance Attack function could be added as a side option, but we can leave that aside for the moment.
When slotted into a PSI drive, Ruu-denka’s blood was capable of amplifying her power by several ten to hundred thousand fold. It was straight from dry battery to freaking lightning bolt.
There I was, expecting the amplified output to be on the level of a stun gun when I nonchalantly loaded a general-use PSI drive with her blood and fired it off. As a result, the entire room became charred black and all the electronics within the Kaburagi ducal mansion were obliterated. Naturally, the PSI drive itself also fell to pieces. It was a catastrophe.
I called Kaburagi-san in a panic, who then arrived within a few seconds through her chronoprohiberis. When she saw the scene, instead of getting angry or sad, comprehension dawned in her eyes. The sight of it made me feel incredibly guilty. I’ll make it up to you later. Really, I promise!
On the flip side, while all this was going on, our ruin forging proceeded without any noteworthy mishap.
While masterfully keeping the most important details unexplained, I went around consulting experts for their opinion. Based on what I learned, I planted appropriate mold and mushrooms and assiduously created fake human bones, dressed them in clothes that had gotten ragged from over-exposure to sea wind, then set them up all over within the caves.
Carving the ruin’s inscriptions ended up being a sort of trial experience for hell. I had lost count of how many times I’d thought about giving up during the process. After all, all the carving that I had slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly worked on over an entire month probably wouldn’t get looked at for more than a minute during the actual event. I was under no delusion in this regard. Even so, this would be the priceless minute that the hundreds of millions of treasure hunting mania the world over had dreamed of their entire lives. This single thought alone was what had gotten me through the entire ordeal.
With all the planning, arranging, executing, and (as a countermeasure for Chris’s psychometry) the cool down period, the forging of the ancient ruins took about six months in total. However, I believed that the quality and scale of the finished product had indeed lived up to the time spent.
The season was early summer.
The setting was the Marineland Ruins.
The main participants would be Takahashi Shouta (high school 2nd year), Hasumi Touka (high school 2nd year), Christina Najeen (high school 2nd year), and Miyama Kyousuke (middle-aged uncle).
The curtains are finally rising for the ancient ruins event!
Below are notes on Denka’s electrokinesis. Feel free to skip it if you’re not interested.
Electricity can generally be broken down into voltage (unit: volts, symbol: V), current (unit: amperes, symbol: A), and resistance (unit: ohms, symbol: Ω). In Denka’s case, voltage is attack power, current is damage, and resistance is defense. In equation form, this is:
A (damage) = V (attack power) / Ω (defense)
The higher the attack power (voltage), the higher the damage (current).
If defense (resistance) is high, damage received (current) would remain suppressed even if attack power (voltage) is also high.
In this current chapter, the numbers used were attack power (voltage), but if we are to convert those numbers to damage (current), it would be as follows:
0.01A: A really big shock
0.02A: Could induce death with prolonged contact
0.03A: Stun gun
1A: A light bulb
To put resistance into perspective, the most highly conductive metal, silver, has a resistance of 0.0000001Ω. Human skin, when it’s super dry, would be around 5,000Ω, but around 300Ω when it’s completely drenched. During battle, assuming that the opponent is moving around a lot and is therefore sweating profusely, the resistance of their skin would be, say, around 1,000Ω.
The voltage required for an electric attack against such an enemy to be effective would be:
V = 0.01A/1,000Ω = 10V
Once voltage is known, the target’s resistance can be generally estimated with a bit of online research, after which the necessary current (A) can then be easily derived with the above equation.
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.