A Sea Of Scarlet
Disclaimer: Not my property.
I awoke with a sputtering gasp. The first thing I noticed was the rocking sensation and the squawking of what sounded like seagulls. "Damn feather rats…" I growled, shielding my eyes from the oddly intense sunlight. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep… until I felt my oddly shaped "bed" start to move beneath me. Salty water splashing me in the face had me suddenly very alert. I flailed for a moment, rolling back over so as to not capsize the "bed" I just realised was actually a small raft; honestly it was more likely it was just a large piece of a broken ship.
I panicked for a moment, frantically looking about for any sign of land or how I could have got here. Everywhere I looked I saw nothing but water from horizon to horizon, not even a single ship or island in sight. I didn't bother screaming for help; if I couldn't see anyone, no one could hear me.
As the sun began to set, turning the water the colour of freshly spilt blood, I sat down in the center of my little raft. I have no idea how I got here. The last thing I remember was sleeping in my bed… then nothing. I wasn't even anywhere close to the ocean!
I frowned, watching the sunset. There was no point lamenting the past, either this was a dream and I'll wake up eventually, or it's not and I need to make sure I don't die. 'Which,' I thought to myself, glancing about, 'might be quite hard.' Seawater would dehydrate me more than it would help, and I had neither the supplies, nor the aptitude to fish for meat. And, I lamented, I had no way of actually directing my little raft, so I had to rely purely on luck to get anywhere.
Several times I attempted to grab any fish I could see; with little success. In the week and a half I had been drifting now I had managed to catch exactly six fish. Luckily two of them had been unusually large (I had managed to use my long nails to gouge out their eyes, tear up their gills and fight them into submission); the rest were quite small. Unfortunately, I was about to die of dehydration anyway (and uncooked meat isn't the healthiest food to begin with). The only reason I hadn't already keeled over was because I drank the blood of the fish I ate and even disregarding that their flesh had some liquid to it.
I washed the fish blood and offal off my ragged form. My clothes were torn, the colour leaking out of them and stained with blood and seawater. My long brown hair was matted and tangled; more resembling a diseased rat's fur than human hair. My body was emaciated, my sharp green eyes bloodshot. So it was no surprise when I was almost shot when a ship spotted me. My head shot around when a cannonball splashed down not three yards from me, the waves created by its landing rocking my little, decaying raft. I followed its theoretical trajectory back to the ship that fired it.
The large ship loomed on the horizon, painted blue and white and flying a flag that chilled me to the bone. A stylized seagull/anchor/thing looking more like a wrench stabbed by two crescent moons and the word MARINES in blue on a white background flapped in the wind… and the blood drained from my already pale face.
That flag is a symbol of corruption and evil… in a fictional universe. Either I have gone completely insane/am hallucinating, or I fell asleep and woke up in one piece. If I'm lucky they'll pick me up and deliver me to a nearby island after some moderate questioning. If not, I'm about to be enslaved.
The ship didn't fire on me again as they swiftly approached, eventually pulling up right next to me and throwing down a rope ladder for me. I climbed up as quick as I could (which wasn't particularly fast considering my near fatal dehydration). I was helped up at the top by two relatively normal looking marines and was instantly given a canteen full of water. I drained it in seconds, barely managing to keep it down when I was overcome by a coughing fit.
After I recovered I was led to a large man with a captain's jacket draped over his shoulders. His lips seemed to be permanently pursed and his chin stuck out at least six inches from his face. His tanned skin looked like it was completely coated in greasy oil. He was at least three feet taller than my six foot frame and by god was he fucking ripped. He wore no shirt and seemed to be constantly flexing. Normally I wouldn't have cared, but the man's fists were bigger than my head. He was combing his yellow pompadour when I approached. He identified himself as "Captain Albrek" and asked me why I was out here. Apparently he had more muscles than brains because he seemed to think I was a pirate.
I endeavored to explain that, no I am not a pirate without pissing the slab of solidified douchebag off. Fortunately for me his attention span was shorter than a gnat on speed so he eventually just waved me off.
As I walked away a rather more dignified marine walked up to me. "Ahem, now that you've met the pig and not been killed… it's time we make arrangements." He coughed into a gloved hand, his whole body shaking as he hacked and sputtered for a moment. I noticed he was almost as thin as me, which was more than a touch disturbing considering I had been starved and dehydrated for almost two weeks. When he recovered he quickly wiped his hand with a handkerchief, though I still managed to just barely catch a hint of red. He had coughed up blood.
"Ahem, now then; this ship is not a charity and we can't have any freeloaders aboard." His voice dripped with condescension as he held back a sneer with visible effort. " So you'll need to contribute if you want us to deliver you safely to the nearest populated island. You do some of the less desirable chores and we don't dump your carcass over the edge of the ship." He gave me a mocking smile. I barely kept from scowling at the man as I slowly nodded. "Good, your first job is to clean up the store room… steal anything and I'll see you delivered to Sabaody in chains, I'm sure someone could make use of you." I decided then and there that this man would die screaming.
Of course I had no idea just how soon my vow would come to pass.
It took me four days to get the storeroom anything close to organised. The smug cunt who had me cleaning the place had locked me in and told me I could sleep in there and to just eat some of the spare food.
I was organising (read: tossing into labeled barrels) a pile of assorted food when I found it. It looked like someone had roughly fused a pear and an avocado. It had a pear's shape with an avocado's texture and coloration. Its leaves looked vaguely like hands grasping for the sky. I knew what it was the moment I saw it; a devil fruit. But that alone isn't what truly got my attention (though I admit I would have wanted it even for that fact alone). No, what caught my attention the most… was the fact that it appeared to be rotting. I didn't even know devil fruits could rot. It has been somewhat implied that if you left a devil fruit alone for years and came back it would still be just fine.
I picked up the rotting fruit and frowned down at it, inspecting it for a moment before I was distracted by the sound of an explosion above me. It didn't take me long to figure out what was happening; the ship was under attack. And based on the screams and subsequent explosions; we weren't winning.
Smoke started to flow in from under the door; the glow of fire visible on the other side. I rushed forward and tried to open the door only to burn my hand on the handle… and remember I was locked in. I heard the captain scream in agony and the smug cunt I assumed was his first mate call to abandon ship before being cut off with a gurgling cry.
I waited a moment before I realized something; they were going to leave me here. Abandoning me to die trapped in the storeroom of a sinking ship. Panic took over for a moment and my hands clenched… or tried to; my right hand was met with resistance. I looked down, staring at the visibly decaying devil fruit I had found.
I had no idea what the fruit even did and not the faintest clue what effect decomposition could have on a devil fruit; but this fruit could be my way out. One glance at the burning door to the only exit in the room had me scarfing down the vile fruit. The flavor made me choke and nearly vomit, it felt like every one of my taste buds just committed seppuku. "I know the taste of evil…" I muttered.
At first nothing seemed to happen, and I began to panic even more… then it kicked in and I began to scream. Pain like I had never felt spread across my body and I watched in terror as disease and decay spread across my flesh. My skin turned a sickly green; pustules and weeping sores opened up all over me. My stomach swelled until it burst and my infested intestines fell to the floor beneath me. I felt my left eye pop and melt down the side of my face. I screamed as I slowly melted into a puddle of vile disease and parasite ridden offal. Everything I touched suffered the same fate as I.
A few minutes passed before the pile of mostly liquid vileness began to twitch. The fire had spread throughout the room, nearly consuming the horrid puddle. Slowly, shakily, the ooze began to rise and take shape. The pus twisted, its more solid insides roiled as it took on a vaguely humanoid shape. Slowly the putrid bile faded to a faint green and condensed into pale green flesh. Ragged hair formed atop a solidifying head… and green eyes snapped open.
And a scream of pain and terror rent the air.
That… was by far the strangest and most unpleasant experience I've ever had. Until I had completely melted I was in agonizing pain… which explains why I started screaming as soon as my lungs and esophagus reformed.
I gasped for breath, sinking to my knees… and falling straight through the rotted floorboards and into the deck below. Luckily for me; this deck was significantly less on fire. Unfortunately it was slightly flooded.
As I waded through the knee high water I caught a glimpse of my reflection… and froze. I was always pale but now my skin could be mistaken for paper… if it weren't for the faint greenish tinge, the black veins vividly visible beneath, and the sickly sheen coating it. My iris was still green (though the colour has darkened) but the sclera was a florescent yellow and the pupil was an extremely dark purple. I gasped and saw my teeth, which had turned black. Though when I felt them with my (now white and fuzzy looking) tongue and tapped them with my blackened fingernails they were as solid as always, if not more so.
I looked as if I was deathly ill, though I felt better than ever. I would have to experiment with my new powers later; right now I had a burning ship to escape. I reached the exit only to find I couldn't open the door. I slammed my fist into the door keeping me from freedom. To my mild shock the door blackened around my fist and swiftly rotted away. I grinned as I placed my hand on the door, focusing on pushing my new power into It. I watched as my hand turned to a sickly green and yellow goo and the door blackened and rotted. Evidently I had almost no control over my abilities; I would have to train thoroughly later.
I pushed through the rotted door with ease watching as it crumbled around me before bolting up the stairs. I reached the upper deck quickly, though much of it was on fire. Strangely the smoke didn't bother me and I breathed it in as easily as pure oxygen.
I ran to one of the more intact railings and saw a depressing sight. All the lifeboats were gone, either destroyed or drifting away, the sailors aboard them long dead by now. The only intact ship nearby… was the pirate ship; where a group of marines fought a losing battle against seemingly endless hordes of pirates.
Unfortunately the ship was still too far away for me to jump to. As I thought about this I felt my body get lighter and glanced down at myself. I had turned to a greenish fog in a vaguely humanoid shape. A shaky grin spread across my phantasmal face as I instinctively held myself together and began to drift towards the ship. My powers appear incredibly versatile and powerful; I would need to experiment thoroughly later, when I wasn't one misstep away from death.
My vaporous form settled over the ship and I began to spread out; instincts I knew I didn't used to have telling me exactly how to create more of my current composition. Soon the whole deck was blanketed with my gaseous form; anyone who came in contact with it had numerous diseases spread across them, rot spreading with the plagues. Those unfortunate enough to breathe it in (all of them) suffered as their lungs filled with vile fluids and rotted away.
I stared at the screaming (mostly gurgling) people now within me (a strange experience in and of itself) and slowly began to smile. Eventually said smile grew to an unnatural and highly disturbing size as I slowly retook my human form. "Well, I figured out what I'm gonna call myself. I'm fucking Nurgle. Hmhmhmhmhmhmhahahahaha!"
I breathed deeply and smiled, the smell of rotting bodies (some of them still alive) like roses to my obviously altered senses. I blinked as motion caught my attention; one of the more heavily mutated and diseased bodies slowly began to rise; more changes occurring as it stood up. The other bodies (save two) began to fall apart and the pieces becoming to take their own smaller forms. I blinked again as I realised the shapes they were taking; the three mostly intact bodies turned into Plaguebearers and the little ones were Nurglings. "Holy shit; I really am Nurgle!"
As the daemons crowded around me, the Nurglings jumping up and down from excitement, I simply stared at them. I could sense myself in them and decided to see if I could exert any control over them; I laughed when the Nurgling I focused on smacked another on the back of the head and a Plaguebearer punted one of its lesser kin across the deck.
Grinning, I sent them flooding into the lower decks to kill any survivors; I neither had any use for nor suspected I could even keep alive any prisoners. I walked towards the captain's quarters, intent on murdering the man to complete the annihilation of this so far unremarkable crew. I frowned when I noticed I was leaving rotting foot prints with every step; I really need to learn control. Idly I glanced up at their flag… and froze. A bisected smiley face flapped in the wind. I shook my head rapidly, 'Shit, I'm massacring members of the Donquixote pirates?' I resumed my sedate pace towards the captain's presumed location, 'Well, hopefully Doflamingo doesn't actually care about these guys'
I had almost reached the captain's quarters when the door exploded open, bits of wood made into impromptu shrapnel. A large piece of which caught me straight in the head, piercing just above my right eye and penetrating all the way through. I blinked at the sky above me, the force of the blow having broken my neck as well. I could feel the fatal damage done to me, but felt strangely unbothered by it. I turned my neck to sludge and reset it in place, the jagged wooden spike rotting away inside my head. I looked into the shocked eyes of the captain as the hole in my head closed up; a smirk appearing on my face. I raised my hand and fired a blast of liquid pestilence at the man.
Apparently the sudden attack snapped him out of his stupor and the green haired man dodged… almost. The blast hit the wall behind him and splashed, some of the droplets landing on his arm. I laughed as the point of contact became festering wounds with disease and decay rapidly spreading out from them. I fired more and more blasts, each one becoming more focused and concentrated, moving faster and often going straight through anything they hit. I eventually got them to be the size of large marbles, shoot as fast as a bullet, and be so concentrated they would rot straight through whatever they hit and usually just keep on going straight through; as evidenced by the many rotting holes in the man and the walls behind him.
I need not have bothered, the initial contact had spread to consume nearly his entire body; his arm was more pus and rot than flesh. I grinned as he fell to his knees and collapsed to the ground, his bursted stomach leaking his intestines and more pus than blood flowing from his wounds. I walked over to his fallen form, smirking as I saw him struggle to breath; apparently rotted, diseased lungs aren't too good at their job.
I grinned maliciously as I drew my leg back and slammed my bare foot into the bloated, oozing mess that once was his stomach; forcing rotting blood and bile out of his mouth and many wounds. My smile grew as he was rapidly overcome by creeping decay and his corpse slowly shifted into a slightly larger than average Plaguebearer.
I quirked an eyebrow at that; apparently the power of the individual had some say in what sort of daemon they became. This one appeared to be a Plague Drone rather than a simple Plaguebearer. Though it was weak by actual Warhammer standards, and I wasn't entirely sure it wasn't just a stronger than usual Plaguebearer.
I turned, sensing my daemons had finished cleansing the ship. My new theory was given more evidence when I saw the multitude of Nurglings. Most of the crew had been to weak to form a Plaguebearer and had instead dissolved into multiple Nurglings.
I smiled at the small horde of daemons, feeling oddly paternal. They were all disposable, but I quite liked having them around. Though, the fact that the ship seemed to be falling apart from my (and the daemons) corrosive presence was distinctly unpleasant (I had no desire to see if I still had all the normal devil fruit weaknesses). I frowned, worshipers of the original Nurgle had equipment in the same state but it never seemed to fall to pieces on them.
I focused on the ship, sensing the pestilence and decay running all throughout it. I concentrated and slowly felt it all solidify, becoming stronger and more solid. I released a breath I didn't realize I was holding as the ship stopped feeling like it was a stiff breeze from falling apart. Mind you, it still looked like it was about to fall apart.
I grinned as a noxious wind caught the ship's rotting sails. May the winds of change carry me on to endless adventure.