As always - stay dark. Stay frosty.
I woke with a start.
I was chained. No, not chained. I was held down by familiar leather strappings. Too familiar. I couldn't move. I was naked. The room I was in was pitch black. I could hear no sound. No – I could hear just one sound. A rather specific one. The sound of heels – heels that I knew were far too familiar.
A door was opened. A familiar door.
"Hello Jason. Are you ready for our session today?"
Military camouflage shirt. Opened. A black bra binding slightly sagging breasts exposed. A leather skirt. Tight. A long slit running up the side. Stilettoes on her feet. A camouflage tinted tie on her neck. My gaze did not go to her face. It never did. When I attempted to do so – I would see nothing but a blank, faceless thing. I had stopped trying.
"I couldn't decide whether to go with naughty teacher, or hardened military woman," the voice that should not be speaking continued "So, I went with both. This will be far more interesting, don't you think?"
I didn't answer. No, I focused instead on closing my eyes and breathing. "You're dead." I stated the simple fact. "I killed you. You're dead."
The clicking of deadly heels drew my attention, as did a familiar tutting. "Oh, poor, poor, Jason. Did you really think all that happened? You – somehow escaping these…" she ran her hands over the bindings "…and somehow killing me? All for some goddess to whisk you away to a magical land to be a child slave?"
Her breath tickled my ear. I felt my body freeze. My breath stopped. Instincts long forgotten returned as her tongue nibbled against my lobe.
"Come now Jason. Such things don't happen in the real world. I thought I had taught you better by now."
"I thought you had understood how the real world works."
SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
A thick sob escaped her lips. "This – this is your fault Jason. You're the one making me do this. You don't learn. You never learn. You – you break my heart Jason."
"I don't like doing this Jason!"
"But you won't learn!"
"Why won't you learn?! Why?! WHY?! WHY?!"
"TELL ME WHY YOU'RE MAKING ME DO THIS TO YOU JASON!"
Her breaths and sobs intermingled. She sat on my lap. Sobbing. Sobbing. My cheeks felt dull. Too dull.
"I love you – Jason. I really love you. I – I can show you. I – I can!"
Her long fingered hands grabbed me. Slowly, roughly, her head descended. Her lips enveloped my cock. I said nothing. I made no movements. Her tongue went to work as it always had. I wasn't sure how long it took. She swallowed, like she always had. And she sounded happier. Like she always had.
"You'll never leave me… will you Jason? You'll be mine… you'll be mine… forever."
The smell of dried urine penetrated my nostrils.
My eyes followed suit, opening slowly. I was in the darkness. I was lying on the cold floor. I could not see. I wanted to move my body, but hesitated. Slowly, I made my arm reach for the sky.
I let out a small breath. I could move. I was not bound to a chair. My hands roamed downwards. I was wearing clothes. I wasn't naked. I roamed further down. Erect. Aroused. This thirteen year old body was undergoing puberty. I was not pleased with it.
I sat up. My surroundings came as a precedent, my gaze taking in the others in the room. Asleep, all of them. All asleep close to the old man – Rob. Scattered around haphazardly, in sleeping positions that were amusing in their variety. I shook my head at the sight. I refocused myself on my goal.
It was still early in the morning. I was still a slave. I could change one of those two facts. Escape. I needed a route or plan of escape. I could not afford to wait for the revolt. There could possibly not even be a revolt. I needed to leave. I needed to leave immediately.
Power was precedent. I required it in immense amounts if I was to have any possibility of freeing myself from Eris. Magic was needed. Different types. As many as possible. There was a problem regardless. Eris would not merely sit and watch me gain power. She did not trust me. I would need to gain her trust.
There was no response.
I waited for several minutes.
"For my champion to call me in his time of need." Her voice was sour. "Well? What is it?"
I chose my words carefully.
"I have thought it over," I began "It is both unwise and foolhardy of me to fight with the being whose very charitability is the reason that I live. It was wrong of me to make those declarations and insults towards you, my Lady Eris. I would beg for your forgiveness, and for a second start in your service."
I waited. She seemed to hum. It was strange, hearing her voice and tones in my head.
"Very well, I accept your apology." She said slowly, "As for this second start – this would mean implicitly following my orders and commands. Are you aware of this?"
I was. "Yes, my goddess. I am at your command."
"Oh? So, you're absolutely willing to do anything I tell you to do?" the voice came in a soft cooing, "No matter how vile and despicable by your human standards of morality? You will do it?"
A trap question. I knew where it was going. Answering in the affirmative would mean providing the necessary proof to substantiate my claim. Answering in the negative would give up my ploy of playing the subservient servant. Regardless of what I chose, the outcomes would be unfortunate. Hence, I decided it was best to continue the ploy as far as plausible.
A sound of contemplation.
"Very well. Slaughter the old man and any two of the children of your choosing."
"Oh, and emphasis my dear champion, on slaughter."
Kill Rob? Kill not one, but two of Erza's companions? Impossible. I could care less about maintaining the sanctimony of a canonical timeline. I was rather instead focused on the consequences such an action would possess on the escape attempt and subsequent riots. Rob dying earlier, by the hand of a fellow slave rather than in some of selfless sacrifice could also ensure that Erza never unlocks her magical potential.
What would the Fairy Tail world look like without the Titania?
An interesting question. However, it was still not my concern. My very existence and that of the evil goddess Eris playing games as if moving chess pieces on a board ensured that the timeline was already fractured. Attempting to fracture it even further by killing them would be unwise. Yes, I possessed no intention of deliberately attempting to maintain the canonical timeline. However, I also possessed no intention of going out of my way to destroy it. Following Eris' command would most certainly be doing exactly that.
"You hesitate, my champion. What is the matter? Were you not swearing about your complete determination to me?"
I wagered my options. Kill three innocents to prove a point to a goddess, and in the process most likely prevent the rise of Erza Scarlet. Refuse to do so, and expose my ploy as attempting to play the goddess close to the heart, thereby making her far warier and far less likely to be deceived in future.
This was very much a 'lose-lose' situation.
I stood. I turned my gaze to the sight of the children and to the old man. Slowly, I walked over to them. My feet hit the coarse, cold ground and shivers ran across my body. The first person I came across was the small Cat-lover. Millianna, if I believed correctly. It would be easy, to move my hands across her neck. To wring the live from her in seconds. I could pin her down and silently choke her to death. Or perhaps, I could search for a blunt object and smash it across her skull.
Easy. Too easy.
I clambered over her. She was directly beneath me. Her breaths were quiet. A small bead of sweat dripped from my forehead. My hands extended, forced by my own mental command. Slowly, they reached her neck, stopping mere centimeters away from making skin contact.
She whimpered and I froze.
I relaxed upon realizing what was happening. Her sleeping face contorted into a grimace. Her calm serene expression, replaced with turbulence and trouble. A nightmare, the term came to me. She is having a nightmare. How unfortunate. She was having a nightmare and soon, she would awake to discover that nightmare a reality.
My hands steadied on her neck. Steadied.
My hands refused to obey.
Their rebellion was stronger.
They remained as limp and ineffective as a man with procreative problems.
I could not kill the girl. Perhaps I should have gone for the boys instead? Statistically, male lives were valued less than that of females. Perhaps it would be easier. Perhaps it would be harder. I was uncertain.
A snort. "I cannot say I am surprised. All that talk – all of it was for some juvenile attempt at making me believe you are willing to be a faithful servant. All of it – some ridiculous ruse. Did you think that somehow, if you got me to trust you, you would be capable of changing your situation? Betraying me at the end after playing the role of the perfect servant?"
I said nothing. To deny would be to implicate myself. To agree would be to implicate myself further.
"You know, it's ironic" she chuckled "Had you actually gone ahead and killed them – it would have shown to me that you have no spine. That you are a weak-willed worm who would resign himself to his fate, rather than to stand and fight against it in spite of insurmountable odds. It would have meant that I misjudged you – and I had picked a pathetic champion. I would no longer want to be associated with you."
"Essentially – had you followed that order, you would have gotten what you wanted: your freedom."
I grit my teeth.
Was she lying? No. So far, Eris had told no lies.
Were three lives worth my freedom?
"Your defiance, my champion, is what makes you so interesting. Too much of it would be unacceptable, such as you daring to insult me, but at the same time, too little or none of it at all would be pathetic and dull. An unideal trait for the Champion of the Goddess of Chaos and Misery." She let out a sigh that was almost sensual. "But the right amount of defiance and obedience… it would be perfect. That is why I chose you, of course, a man who defied the impossible, defied death, defied capture and defied everything."
Her tone. Irritating. She sounded almost enamored. She was most likely insane. Or perhaps a form of sadist. I could not tell.
"Ah, that reminds me. I did listen to your complaints, and I decided to leave you with a little gift – to ensure you survive long enough to stop being a slave." She said gleefully "Not only will my gift solve your problem of being grossly weak and underprepared, it will also solve my problem of ensuring that you partake in your fair share of chaos and misery in my name."
I was not fond of that idea in the slightest.
"You might feel a slight… tinge."
I did my best to scramble away from the sleeping form of Millianna to stop myself from falling over her. I was barely able to stop myself from convulsing as my entire body felt as though it had been electrified. My muscles contracted and seized up, and I dropped to the ground in a dead heap.
The shocks subsided. I slowly regained control of my body. However – something was different. I could smell. I could smell far more clearly than I had any right to. I could smell, all around me, the vague aroma of roasted chicken. It was delicious. Mouthwateringly so. No – it was not just roasted chicken. Other meals – other, godsend meals – pot-roast, stir fry, noodles, and on and on it went. I could feel my mouth get moist. Moister. It was filled to the brim with saliva.
"What… what is this?"
"I have gifted with you, my champion, the ability to sniff out and consume the raw essences of chaos and misery." Eris said gleefully. "When you consume ambient chaos or misery in the air – you also consume what is known as Ethernano – granting you access to magic, refilling your reserves, healing you, strengthening your bones and muscles, making you stronger and faster. As a benefit – it tastes like actual meals and will fill you up just as much as eating the food itself."
I was skeptic. I put my tongue out into the air, the ambient air –
Juicy tender steak wrapped in bacon, stuffed inside chicken.
The taste was maddening. Absolutely maddening. It felt – it felt like I could actually taste it. It felt more tangible than should have been possible. Slowly, my mouth was watering again.
"Oh, and my champion, when you consume the chaos and misery from people's souls… it tastes better."
Better? That was impossible. Was it? Could it be possible?
I flickered my gaze to Millianna. She was still having her nightmare. There was a strong, wafting aroma of freshly baked bread emitting from her. Stronger than the ambient smells in the background. It overwhelmed my senses and almost sent me scrambling in her direction had I not stopped myself.
"And because I am such a loving goddess," the voice came back, almost overwhelmed with giddiness "If you are the cause of the chaos and misery you end up consuming – the taste is multiplied by a factor of ten, and you also experience a certain level of… euphoria… unlike anything you have ever felt."
This was bad. It was immensely bad. Yet, it was smart. It was so ingeniously smart, that had I not despised Eris, I would have applauded her for this ploy. Food was the one thing that no living being was capable of doing without. Delicious or aromatizing foods, even more so. This was basic hardwiring into my system. Once I attained a taste for the chaos, normal foods would become bland and tasteless in comparison. I would come back for it, daily. I would want to have it all. Soon, I would exhaust my available reserves. When that happened – I would seek to create more – I would seek to cause chaos and misery everywhere I went, purely in the name of sanguinary palatal satisfaction.
The alternative would be to starve myself. This would be the equivalent of putting a full roast duck on a plate in a room with a starving man chained to the floor. Daily living would be an absolute torture, with the realization that you are mere inches away from an ambrosial delight.
Another alternative, would be to cut off my tongue and nose. However, the odds were that Eris would just make them grow back. No matter how many times she had to.
Ingenious. Devious. Eris was shrewder than I gave her credit for. The question was no longer a matter of if I would go around spreading chaos and misery, but when.
What would I say? Curse her? A pointless endeavor. Praise her? I would rather bite off my tongue. There was nothing I could say in this situation. All that was left was a waiting game.
"Making these alterations to you came at a significant cost of my power, my champion." She said in a huffy tone. "It will take a while to recharge. I will not speak with you for another two… perhaps four months? In that time – do as you will."
Four months. So she granted me autonomy to do as I wish for the next four months. Of course she did. There was very little doubt in her mind that I would do her bidding now. She no longer needed to watch over my shoulder like a guiding parent. The signature 'link' I felt with her faded, along with her presence and voice.
I was to fight a battle against my sense of smell and my desire for a good meal.
I lost in five seconds.
Even before I was brought to this world, I was starved. Months. For months – I had been fed nothing but stale bread and water. Sometimes, I was given dogfood. Other times, cold, spoiling leftovers. I had not eaten anything that could be respectfully called a meal. I had forgotten what good food tasted like.
And now – it was all around me.
I could feel it the very second I opened my mouth and drew it in. The overwhelming amount of misery and chaos present in the tower of heaven. The mesh of it, caused and fueled by the sorrow of the slaves and the general maliciousness of the slavers blended together into what my palates recognized as steak wrapped bacon. Delicious, juicy bacon. Rich, salacious steak. I could feel it in my mouth, feel myself chew on it, feel when I swallowed it.
My cheeks felt wet.
The taste felt too real. Far too real. Consciously, I was aware that there was no food. However, my sense of taste and sense of smell disagreed angrily. There was food – and I must consume it.
I must consume it all.
I could see it. Coagulating in front of me. It was like a thick, creamy miasma. The ambient chaos in the air. The thick sorrow in the atmosphere. I chewed. I munched. I swallowed it all greedily. It was a lot. Too much for one person to consume. A literal buffet.
I stopped, slurping and licking at my lips.
My body felt lighter. It felt better. Better than I could remember. My skin glowed darkly. For several seconds, a purple glow engulfed me. It sucked itself into my body. My skinny body was filled with rich healthy flesh. My thin ribcage was covered. My stomach transformed into a toned, fit form. Small mounds of muscles developed around my arms. My bones felt like tempered steel. Adrenaline pumped throughout my system and made me feel invincible. There was something else that was pumped – something that I could mentally pick apart.
Dopamine. Oxytocin. Serotonin.
It rushed through my system. It made me… happy.
Almost as quickly, it was gone. The rush ceded. I was left with nothing. A strange, empty nothingness.
I disliked the nothingness. I tremendously disliked it.
I settled for consuming more of the meaty miasma.
More and more of it.
As much as I could.
I would suck the Tower of all its ambient chaos if I had to.
As long as I did not feel… nothing.
Eris was satisfied.
She was satisfied with her plan. She had doubted how well it would work, but it seemed to have been worth it in the end. Her champion would no doubt consume the sweetness of the chaos, completely unaware of the side-effects they possessed. He would be so busy filling himself that he would fail to realize that chaos was a finite resource, and he could not merely just absorb so much of it from somewhere without consequences.
Even if he did realize the consequences and implications she doubted he would care that much. It would only be a matter of time before he equally began spreading his fair share of chaos – so there wasn't much to worry about.
This was a major investment of hers – one that she could not afford to botch up so easily. At the very least, as a resident of another world, his actions were untraceable by the other gods. His fate was uncertain and could not be predicted by any form of magic. His destiny was unknown by time. He was, for all intents and purposes – a Wildcard. Even she did not know what he would do or what he was capable of.
She had no plans for him, except to set him lose, sit back, and watch the fireworks.
His mere existence was already shattering destines and changing time. Merely by bringing him into the world, she had thrown it into chaos. It was thrown into chaos by the presence of a foreign invader. And everything he did further would only serve to increase her powers and domain. Even if he somehow, sickeningly went about saving damsels in distress and doing 'good' rather than murdering, pillaging and raping everything in sight – he was still throwing a wrench into fate and destiny. Saving people that should have been saved by someone else, causing important conversations and events not to happen, making several meetings not to happen – it was like watching the slow, tantalizing unravelling of a thread.
As every good tailor knew, all it took was the unraveling of one thread – to make the entire garment fall into pieces.
Morning came uneasily.
"Wake up you fucking pieces of shit! It's time for work!"
Uneasily. An understatement. The slavers banged their rods against the cages. The irritating ring of metal being struck repetitively woke me up. I could not complain. I felt charged, filled to the brim with energy. Overflowing with it.
I came to the realization that this extra energy was as a result of consuming nearly all the chaos and misery in the air. It was also as a result of now possessing Ethernano in my body. Magic. The power of magic. It ran up my fingers, trickled down my spine. Magical energy spoke to me in a strong way. It hummed, whispering ways and manners for it to be released, none of which I possessed access to.
For all the lore of Fairy Tail – the very specifics of how one went about learning magic was shrouded in mystery. For Natsu, he learned from a dragon. For Erza, she unlocked hers in a fit of rage and despair. For Lucy, she used spirit keys. For Gray, all I knew was that he stood nigh-naked in some snowy hills and learnt it from Ul. There were no specific instructions, such as, for instance, the Naruto-world where the basics of ninjutsu were explained in detail.
I possessed magical energy. However, I did not know how to go about using it.
"Didn't you hear me you little shit? I said it's time for work!"
I contemplated ways in which I could learn. Surely, just focusing my magical energy into what I wished for it to do, and then imbuing the necessary willpower was not all there was to such a complex art? Then again, this was not the Nasuverse or the Potterverse. Supposedly, the rumored One Magic in this world is love. Love of all things. A chemical reaction of oxytocin, epinephrine, and dopamine is the source of all reality warping abilities. It was laughable on a scale I could not even begin to contemplate.
"Are you ignoring me you fucking brat?"
Regardless, it was implied numerous times that the magic chooses the mage more often than the mage choosing the magic. I found that to be questionably incorrect. If such were the case, then special lachrima which granted magical powers should not exist. It also did bring about a question. Why did most mages stick to only one magic? The exceptions, of course, being the likes of August and God Serena from the final Alvarez Empire arc – the former possessing the ability to copy any magic, and the latter supposedly having eight or so Dragonslayer lachrima inserted in his body.
Regardless, why focus on only one field of magic?
Makarov could have learned Take-Over Magic if he so wished, to incorporate with his Titan Magic. He did possess some knowledge of other magic arts, such as the Amaterasu formation, and the Fairy Sphere. What stopped him from doing so? Similarly, Mirajane possessed knowledge of basic transformation magic, yet, her major magic was still the Take-Over: Satan Soul. Why didn't she learn other forms of magic to incorporate with her ––
My body went limp and my eyes went wide as the familiar sensation of an electric rod slammed against me.
"Know your place slave!" the man spat.
Somehow, the pain was numb. Dull. It didn't feel as bad as I remembered. Instead, my mind was still clear, strangely clear. Clear enough to wonder what the rod was made of and how it worked. It didn't truly feel like real electricity running up and down me. More likely it was magic – magic which focused particularly on the pain nerves in the body – doing damage to it which mimicked the damage of electricity.
The pain stopped. I stared blankly. I could not muster up the strength to be angry or incensed. My ultimate target was a god. I would need to kill a god in future. Humans – trifling, petty humans like this slaver were more or less an annoyance.
"What the fuck are you looking at?"
I turned my gaze. The old man Rob, Erza, and her companions – they glanced at me with worry in their eyes. Worry, and the vague sense of helplessness. I frowned when my nose picked up on the smells. Worry smelt like bananas. Helplessness smelt like a delectable grapefruit.
I turned my attention back to the standing man. Insecurity and anger – ginger and red hot chili peppers.
This was making no sense. I could smell every emotion. I thought I could only smell 'chaos' and misery? Had Eris known this was going to happen? Was this an unexpected side-effect? Why did they smell like fruits and vegetables rather than complete meals?
More importantly… could I also eat them?
What would happen… if I ate someone's emotions?
The fact that I had been in my head for too long came to me in the form of the slaver bringing down his electrifying rod in a wicked snarl.
"Stop!" Electricity "Staring!" Pain "At!" Numbness "Me!" Pain again.
I did not.
I shook my head.
"I pity you."
He did not seem to appreciate the sentiment.
Blind Rage – Spicy, delicious curry.
So I opened my mouth –
And I swallowed it whole.
Rob was wary. He had been wary of the boy called Jason ever since he met him. Something about the boy had not been normal, and despite being a slave, he had not lost that sharp instinct he had possessed in his younger days when he was a mage. The boy seemed to be the sort that dozed off with his eyes open, merely staring into the air blankly with little to no recognition of where he was.
This was a bad thing to do, when their jailer had arrived. This one, this jailer, he was one of the ones that was particularly brutal – taking great pleasure in the suffering of others. It was best to avoid angering him, but Jason, being new and being who he was, seemed not to notice the slaver. He seemed to be intent on ignoring him completely. The slaver did not like it in the slightest.
Rob would admit that it was a bone-chilling scene. Those whips and staffs which were used to punish them were magical in nature, and they dealt a lot of damage and pain that would and could reduce a grown man to a sniveling wreck. Yet, this boy took all the angry beatings of the slaver without flinching. His eyes were open, and he was staring – staring deep at the slaver as though he were a child attempting to solve a rather difficult crossword puzzle. His gaze, especially with his red eyes, was incredibly unnerving, and it seemed to only rile up the slaver more and more as he refused to stop gazing.
Then, the boy had spoken.
"I pity you."
The cold shiver that ran down his spine at those three words would forever haunt his memory.
The slaver, predictably, had roared out in rage, bringing his rod down for a more severe beating –
No one could explain it. Jason's mouth was open, and the slaver just… stopped. He didn't move. It was almost as though he couldn't move. At the same time, the boy in question, Jason, seemed to have gained a soft red glow around his body – all his wounds seemed to be mending themselves, his bruises vanishing, his cuts and scrapes receding. The boy appeared slightly healthier than before, and his face –
The boy's face was contorted into one of ecstatic bliss. It was highly inappropriate, the manner in which his eyes rolled into his head, his tongue hung out, and he let out short, frantic breaths – almost as though he had… had…
"Rage… burning hot. Tremendously bad for your health." He said with a raspy voice. His hand gestured outward to the frozen guard, and Rob's eyes widened when he felt the sharp spark of ethernano gather in the air.
The guard's body exploded.
Erza and Millianna screamed.
The epicenter was covered with blood, more blood than Rob ever wanted to see. Yet, it was covered with very little flesh. Jason stood, stained red, guts and the large intestine wrapped around his neck like a comfortable scarf. A fleshy bone hand landed directly in front of him, and aways from him, scattered guts, ribs, and steaming hot pieces of flesh. The sound of someone vomiting echoed into Rob's ears, and he realized, that the sound was everyone, all the children and himself – all except the… devil with red eyes.
Jason stood in the middle of the massacre, appearing like a boy who just had his first orgasm. Judging by the bulge in the boy's pants, it was almost certain that it had been the case.
Then, the boy's eyes turned in their direction.
And Rob knew the meaning of fear.