Vs. The Strawman

"Gimme all your ramen!" bellowed a deep voice. It didn't take long to find the source of the voice, as there was a large ape-like monster crashing through the city of Tokyopolis. "If I don't have all the city's ramen, I'll turn it into a crater!"

"The ramen or the city?" the city mayor asked. You'll have to forgive him; he means well, but his wit is sorely lacking. "I mean, erm…"

"Uh, the city, I think," the monster answered, pausing for a moment. "Yeah, I'll turn the city into a crater."

"Oh, well our hero won't let you do that," the mayor replied. "He's all about fighting monsters like you."

"Monster? That's just hurtful, man. My name's Bobo." The ape grunted as he looked around. "I don't see any hero, or any ramen."

"Oh, did you wan' ramen?" asked a young man. Bobo and the mayor both looked down the street to see a masked teen downing a bowl of ramen. "Oh, yeesh, I, uh, just had the last bowl. My bad." He gulped. "You'll just have to try again tomorrow, and you know, not threaten the city next time."

"But I want ramen now!" Bobo shouted. "I want it I want it I want it! Rraaaaah!" Bobo charged at the masked jerk, fists raised to strike.

"You monsters just never learn, do you?" the teen said to himself as he shook his head. "I guess it just can't be helped." Yellow electricity formed around the boy's legs as he sprinted towards the giant primate. "Kenshin Kick!"

The boy kicked the air, sending a bolt of lightning towards Bobo, knocking the oversized ape right on his hairy behind. "Yeowch!" Another bolt flew from the hero's legs into Bobo's face, incapacitating the beast. "I just wanted… ramen…" the ape grunted as he passed out. And then he exploded.

"You did it, Henshin Kenshin!" the mayor shouted. "You saved us from that terrible monster!"

"Meh, it was nothing," Henshin Kenshin laughed, "I mean, anybody with superpowers would have done the same thing!"

"Even so, you've done us a great favor in busting that big brute. We'll have the local law enforcement take it from here."

"All in a day's work," Henshin Kenshin said with a grin. "See ya!" The masked hero then spun around and jumped into the air and away from the busy street.

"There goes the greatest hero Tokyopolis has ever had," the mayor said to no one in particular. Again, he's not the brightest guy, so bear with us.

The masked hero known as Henshin Kenshin stopped in a suburban alley, making sure that no one was around to see him. "All right, here we go. Oh, look, an intelligent politician!" In an instant, electricity poured from the teen's body, leaving behind just an average teenager in his school uniform. "That was fun. I wonder what heroics I'll be up to tomorrow."

"Hey, you!" A voice shouted from behind the boy, startling him.

"What superpowers?" he screamed as he spun around. "Uh, is what someone who might have superpowers would say, but I am not one, so I didn't say that." Smooth, pal; real smooth. It was then that our hero noticed who he was speaking to; a girl his age with long, red hair.

"You're in my way, idiot!" The redhead barked. She was wearing a- "And you!" Beg pardon? "Yes, you. The creep narrating this!" H-Hey, I'm no creep- "I'm not going to just let you start talking about my clothes. That's none of your business!"

"Uh, huh," the boy grunted, more than a little disturbed by the girl's odd outburst. "And you are?"

"Tch, like you need to know," the girl snorted.

"Oh, are you Cassie?" a woman asked as she threw open her door. "Cassie Harris?" The woman walked up to the girl and smiled. "And I see you've met my son, Kenshin. That's good, since you'll be seeing a lot each other for a while."

"What." Both teens said in unison.

"Oh, Kenshin, didn't you hear me earlier? We will be keeping little Cassie here while her parents are out of the country on business."

"I'm not a child!" Cassie shouted in protest.

"Oh sorry," Kenshin's mom said with a slight chuckle. "I didn't mean anything by it. Would a trip to the mall make it up to you?"

"Well, it wouldn't hurt," Cassie replied. "But what about Pugmalion?"

"Kenshin can watch your dog for you."

"Um, what now?" Kenshin grunted. "I had plans today!"

"Oh, you can take the dog with you." Kenshin's mother then redirected her attention to Cassie. "The Tokyopolis Megamall has just about everything. You'll love it, I'm sure."

"But-" Kenshin stopped his protest once he realized there was no escaping the dog-sitting. He poked his head inside the house to see a pug making itself at home, the TV remote in its paws. "So you're Cassie's dog, huh? I thought it'd be something less ugly." He walked inside and swiped the remote from Pugmalion. "Yeah, if I have to watch you, I'm not going to watch…" Kenshin looked up at the TV to see a beautiful woman arguing with some guy in another language. "…a German soap opera? Nope!" Kenshin quickly changed the channel to the local news.

"No! I was about to find out why Hans had the affair with the polka- er… Woof?" Kenshin blinked in astonishment at the dog. "Bow, erm, wow? I'm just a dog, er, wan?"

"Save it, Pug," Kenshin replied, turning his head. "A talking dog is par for the course for me."

"Huh?" Pugmalion grunted in confusion. "You aren't going to freak out? I'm not normal! That's un-American!"

"Welcome to Tokyopolis; everything's screwed up here," Kenshin said dryly as he flipped through the channels. "So which one is it: super intelligence? Magic? Were you once a regular guy until you mooned a mysterious hag who cursed you into a form where you ugly face matched your ugly heart?"

"I'll have you know that I'm actually a-"

"Shush! Breaking news!" Kenshin turned up the volume on the TV.

"…and all civilians are advised to stay away from the Tokyopolis Megamall until this threat is neutralized." The scene cut to what appeared to be a living scarecrow. "Henshin Kenshin, where are you?"

"Not him again," Kenshin grunted.

"Who is that guy? A potential lawsuit from DC Comics?" Pugmalion asked.

"He's some villain that calls himself the Strawman. He goes around shooting people with something that makes them hollow, poorly constructed, argumentative idiots to disparage various social groups."

"And he's at the Megamall! Someone has to warn Cassie before it's too late!" Pugmalion barked. Kenshin merely returned to his channel surfing. "Well?"

"Oh, you mean me?"

"No, the other stupid teenager in the room. Yes, you!"

"Oh," Kenshin slowly stood up and stretched. "I'll just go outside and call them. And then I'll go find a frozen yogurt place and just pig out, you know, out of concern."

"Good, good. Just make sure nothing happens to my Cassie," Pugmalion growled as Kenshin walked out the door. One the pug was alone, he immediately brought back his show "Don't leave him Frauline."

Kenshin glanced around, making sure he was completely alone. "Good. I was going to take a five minute break, but here goes."

"Power to save the world, heed my call!" Kenshin threw his arms in the air and clenched his fists. Yellow electricity crackled between them as his body was covered in a golden light. "My determination that keeps me standing, and allows me to kick into high gear!" The light around his legs took shape and became yellow and white pants, and then formed boots at his feet. "My strength that makes my foes quiver in fear, and on an especially good day, makes them soil their pants in sheer terror!" He brought his left arm down to the ground as the light formed a pair of gloves. "My wisdom that most people overlook because they think I'm an idiot and I don't care to correct them!" Then he crossed his arms in front of his face as a shining mask covered the top half of his head. "And my shirt, because I do not have the physique of those other heroes that drives the ladies crazy!" Finally, the light around his chest transformed into the final piece of his armor, his symbol, a white H, emblazoned across its chest. "With these things, I am HENSHIN KENSHIN!"

Henshin Kenshin jumped up onto the nearest roof and scanned the environment. "Okay, the Megamall should be downtown, so I should go east from here." With another jump, Henshin Kenshin sailed out of sight, leaving only a slightly scorched roof as proof of his stay.

"Hahaha!" Strawman laughed as he glared around the Megamall. "So much potential. Who should I shoot first? Oh, I know!" He fired a beam towards a karaoke stage where a couple was singing.

The beam struck the female singer, who led the song. "Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you." The poor man singing next to her could barely say "No" when the woman slapped him across the face with her mic. "You chauvinist male pig! When I say I'm better than you, you are NOT allowed to disagree with me! You men exist only to lament how inferior you are to women!"

"Hehehe!" Strawman then looked towards a video game store and shot a customer.

"This game was better in the first generation. The system was unbalanced enough for me to always win, but then they ruined it so filthy casuals could 'have fun.' The company is supposed to bend over backwards to keep ME happy, not those wretched plebes!"

"Hihihi!" Strawman's next victim was a girl eating with her friends.

"Ugh, are you eating a fish? You're a horrible person! People like you are just as bad as bullies, muggers, and wife beaters! Just because you can't hear it doesn't mean that fish wasn't screaming for its life!"

"Hohoho!" Strawman finally directed his attention at a dog that was standing like a man and drinking from a wine glass while talking to a teenaged girl.

"See, atheists are right because you are ugly. I act like an intellectual, so therefore, I have to be right."

"Huhuhuh?" Strawman balked in confusion. "I didn't even shoot him yet!"

"Strawman!" Henshin Kenshin called out as he crashed through the ceiling. "You just can't let people enjoy a day at the Megamall, can you?"

"Henshin Kenshin: I knew you would come to stop me, so this time I've come prepared. Straw dogs, sic him!"

"Straw dogs?" Kenshin asked.

"These aren't just any old beasts, hero! They are all fire-breathing engines of death and destruction!"

"And they're made of straw?"

"Of course! They are warming up to burn you to ashes right now!"

"…You do know straw is flammable, right?"

"Yes?" Strawman answered. "Your poi- oh." Strawman glanced behind him to two piles of ash.

"So, are you going to give up now, Strawman?" Henshin Kenshin asked as he crouched into a fighting stance.

"Not quite. I still have a few tricks. Straw barrage!" A stream of straw slammed into the teenage hero, sending him flying into a wall. "I bet you didn't know I could shoot straw from my body like that!"

"Is that all you got? A sneak attack?" Henshin Kenshin jumped up, then quickly began to scratch himself. "So itchy!"

"Hahehihohu!" Strawman laughed. "So even heroes can let things get under their skin. Now you're powerless to stop me!"

"Oh, get real!" Kenshin said angrily as he scratched furiously. "And that laugh! Pick a vowel!"

"This is the end for you, Henshin Kenshin. After today, no one will take you seriously again!" Strawman held up his arm as energy gathered around it.

"Not if I have anything to say about it, villain!" A figure stood between Henshin Kenshin and the Strawman.

"Thanks for the save, but I had this guy cov-" Kenshin's rescuer turned to face him, causing him to gasp. In front of him was a beautiful girl with red hair and a tiara; he could tell she was a magical girl at a glance. "Wow…"

"Who are you?" Strawman asked, more than a bit confused by the girl's sudden intrusion.

"I am… MagiCassie?" she answered.

"Well, MagiCassie, prepare to face the wrath of the Strawman!" Strawman took all the energy he gathered and fired a wide beam at MagiCassie, who remained motionless.

"Um, aren't you going to dodge?" Henshin Kenshin grunted between scratches.

"If I do, you'll get hit. I have to try something else. Ah!" A scepter formed in the girl's hand as she began to concentrate. "Super Magical Heart Heart Beam!"

"Take your turn, you insufferable self-insert!" Hiro shouted. "We're not even through the prologue!"

"Just a minute, buddy," Doug replied. "I have to plan my turn very carefully." Just as Doug was about to stop his spinner, a hole opened up in the fabric of space. "Wha?"

"Mr. Doug? The author of several beginnings of stories?" said a man in a black suit with the arms torn off, showing off his muscles. "My name is Boaz, and I'm from the Department of Manliness. Is it true that you have indeed written the line 'Super Magical Heart Heart Beam'?"

"Maybe?" Doug answered hesitantly.

"We will have to confiscate your man card."

"Wait wait!" Doug shouted. "It's a parody thing! And it's not nearly as girly as you think!"

"Prove it," Boaz said as he folded his arms.

MagiCassie pointed her scepter at the incoming attack, readying her own beam. Just as the Strawman's beam touched the tip of her scepter, a stream of heart shaped blasts pushed back the attack. Now when I say "heart-shaped," I don't mean like those Valentine's Day hearts; these were literally shaped like the organ, and they made this splattering sound as they slammed into the Strawman's beam. This narrator isn't sure if he should describe it as disgusting or surreal, or I dunno.

"Hyhyhy! So much for you, girlie! What?" The heart-beam powered through the villain's attack, then threw the Strawman into the nearest wall. "St-Stop! Please!" The attack ceased, leaving a shuddering and soaked Strawman lying on the ground.

"You surrender?" MagiCassie asked, ready to fire again if the need arose.

"Yes! What was that? It felt like someone repeatedly slapped me with a gross, bloody mass over and over!"

"That was my Super Magical Heart Heart Beam. It puts villains like you in your place."

"So it fires literal hearts at people?" Boaz asked.

"Yes," Doug answered, snickering to himself.

"You do realize that you are irreparably messed up in the head, right?" Hiro remarked.

"Well, the mental state of Doug notwithstanding, I will say that this does not warrant revoking his man card," Boaz answered. "So with that, I'll bid you both farewell." The man from the Department of Manliness turned and walked through the space-time rift, which then closed behind him.

"Well, that was interesting," Doug sighed. "Now what was I doing? Don't tell me, I want to guess!" Hiro screamed in frustration as Doug pondered his next move.

"And so, the Megamall has been saved, thanks to the arrival of a mysterious girl and her magical scepter," the TV reporter announced. "Eyewitnesses claim that she calls herself 'MagiCassie' and that she saved our more well-known hero, Henshin Kenshin, from the fiendish Strawman."

"That a girl, Cassie!" Pugmalion said with an excited yap. "Your first fight, and you already caught the attention of the local hero." His cheers were cut short as he heard the door open. "Oh!"

"Ugh, that was an embarrassment," Henshin Kenshin grunted as he slunk into the house. "And now I have to wash my suit, too." He paused as he considered the events. "Though that girl was really cute."

"Hey!" Pugmalion barked. "You can't just barge in- holy barf you're Kenshin."

"Yeah, yeah, I'm a superhero," Kenshin said as he took off his mask, "and you can talk. That makes us even, doesn't it?" Kenshin struggled to remove his shirt as someone else's voice growing louder.

"Pugmalion!" MagiCassie barged into the house, her back to Kenshin. "Did you see? I was able to stop a bad guy! Also, how do I turn back to regular Cassie?"

"Um…" Pugmalion merely turned his head towards Kenshin.

"Ugh, Kenshin, put that shirt back on! You can't pull off that look!" Cassie ordered, then shrieked. "That shirt! YOU are Henshin Kenshin?"

"And you are MagiCass- wow; we are absolutely terrible at coming up with superhero names," Kenshin remarked. "But back to the point, you are a magical girl?"

"And you're a henshin hero?" Cassie scoffed. "So wait, does this mean that not only will I live in the same house as you, but I'll also have to deal with you while fighting monsters and supervillains?"

"Oh, this is just perfect," Kenshin huffed. "I meet a cute magical girl, and she turns out to be my mom's mean-spirited tenant. Is there going to be any more surprises before the day ends?"

"I'm a prince from another planet cursed by a usurper and banished to Earth!" Pugmalion announced.

"What." the two teens said in unison.

"See you next time!" Pugmalion shouted.