I really can't get this out of my head. This idea started out as a crossover between DC comics and Star vs forces etc. where Marco takes on the helm of Dr. Fate and gets power that way but that had speed bumps I couldn't avoid.

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"I needed something to at least reduce an impossible battle to one I might be able to win, to make it something that was merely liable to get me killed instead of guaranteed."

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I stepped through to Mewni, my scissors in hand. The ominous portal noises cut out by the sound of the cereal box that I picked up from Earth.

I looked up towards the Mewni castle and froze. The pink, orange, and white globular, tear shaped towers of the kingdom were gone. Well, they were there but they had been burned and crushed and smashed. Flying Buttresses had been snapped and I could see a sign that had once proudly displayed 'C O R N' now just read 'R N.'

Which was pretty bad. Sure, Attar had mentioned a siege but seeing it for real was different than imagining it. When Attar had mentioned that King River could have died in the attack, I hadn't truly believed it but now looking at the castle, I could believe that the staunch and gruff monster fighter was defeated.

The view put the terror I had seen in the Memoratorium on Queen Moon's face into a very real context.

Somebody was throwing something off of the largest tower. Then another thing and another.

Were they dropping people?

The thought made me sick. There was no way they were dropping Mewmans off those towers? Or were they throwing themselves off? I remembered in history class what had happened when cities were sacked on Earth, and suddenly it didn't seem so difficult to imagine.

I made myself look away from the falling 'somthings' and continue to examine the castle. The flags had all been torn down and replaced with those depicting Ludo but he was wearing a crown. It seemed that Ludo had finally made himself a king. The idea that Ludo had caused all this was staggering and I swallowed a growing lump in my throat.

I couldn't believe it, the poor avian creature was, bless his heart, incompetent. Plus the bird's pride would never let him play second fiddle to anyone, even Toffee. Toffee, however, was competent. Alarmingly competent enough to terrify even the Queen of the Mewmans.

And yet the flags were clearly of Ludo and not Toffee even though I had seen Hekapoo and all the others floating like balloons with dark dead eyes.

I took a deep breath and began to walk towards the castle. I'd need a way across the moat and into the castle. I could always swim or… well I was going to say I could hitch a ride on a boat but none seemed to be running errands across the surface of the water surrounding the castle.

I shook my head and pulled out my scissors. I didn't need a ride when I had these. I looked out and cut a hole in space and stepped through into the kingdom.

No wonder these scissors were so tightly controlled by Hekapoo, and no wonder she was on the Magic High Commission.

The image of her soulless eyes while she hung aloft trapezed through my brain. She had been defeated too.

Sure I'd done it, but it took me sixteen years and she hadn't been fighting to kill him, not really. Yeah she dropped him off a cliff and her clones were usually armed but its not like she had just opened a portal and stabbed him.

It had been a trial, not mortal combat.

Against Toffee she would have brought her A Game, and she had still lost. Even with support, with Queen Moon and with the crystal dude at her back it still hadn't been enough.

And if they all lost then what chance did I have? Maybe if we were in Hekapoo's dimension and I had my old body I could do something but here and like this?

I could almost pretend that I could ignore the contract in my hoodie pocket. Even with the cereal box between I and it, the paper left a nagging, wriggling feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I reached down and grabbed it. It felt heavy, more massive than a piece of paper had any right to be.

I began to scan across it;

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This contract between Attar the Lord of Venus (hereafter referred to as Attar) and Marco Diaz of Earth (hereafter referred to as Marco Diaz) relates to the power of Typhon and the Immortal Soul of Marco Diaz.

Marco Diaz shall, upon his death, give up dominion, rights, and holdings of his Immortal Soul. He shall have thirty days after his death to give up his soul or be liable for treble damages and attorney fees of both parties.

Kabbalah CO. shall hold the Immortal Soul of Marco Diaz in trust until the event of Marco Diaz's death whereupon they shall transfer it to the possession of Attar.

Kabbalah CO. maintains responsibility for the Immortal Soul of Marco Diaz during this period. However, they are not responsible for the sins of Marco Diaz before, during, or after this time period.

In the case that this contract is rendered null and void on behalf of Attar, they shall transfer possession of the Immortal Soul of Marco Diaz to its original owner. In this same case Marco Diaz will maintain the powers of Typhon, and Attar shall be responsible for treble damages and attorney fees of both parties.

By the Fair Fiddler's of Hell Act of 1432, should Marco Diaz best Attar in a fiddle contest, he shall win a soul of his choosing from Attar and a solid gold fiddle.

Marco Diaz as the proprietor of an Immortal Soul has the right of free will and the right to wager it and barter a price for it with Attar. He can do so by contacting Attar with his Name.

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The powers of Typhon? There wasn't an instruction manual nor was there a guide to defeat the monster and save the day.

No dice there.

The contract did specify that he could contact Attar with his Name, and that his name was Attar lord of Venus. That wasn't particularly helpful since I wasn't sure what that meant, but I was absolutely sure I didn't want to talk to Attar.

I shoved the paper back in my pocket and stepped sideways in space with my scissors. I set my foot down on one of the towers. I took a look around from my new vantage point. Maybe there was something I wasn't seeing.

It was better to make do with what I had than make deals over my immortal soul.

I gave a start with I heard a squawk and I rolled quickly to the side to dodge whatever was coming my way. I came out of my roll with my head on a swivel to get an image of my attacker. It was a spider being carried by an eagle?

That was a new one.

I couldn't protest that too hard considering all the things I had seen. I would be picking an odd hill to die on if I sat here and contemplated the improbability of a giant spider being carried by a giant eagle.

What I could protest was how I went for a sword that wasn't there with my back against the balcony of the platform I had landed on.

My sword was back in Hekapoo's dimension with my body not here and now where I needed it.

The eagle dropped the spider in an almost rehearsed fashion and the bug scurried towards me, forcing me to look down even as the eagle flew towards my face with its claws. I backed up quickly only to meet the railings and the powerful talons sliced into my forearms. I shouted in pain falling backwards. I opened my eyes and reached out, catching the spider pincers one in each hand, just in time before the arachnid pierced my thigh.

I screamed in pain as I gripped the mandibles tightly, the blade like mandiples sliced into my hands and I felt blood slick my fingers even as I struggled to hold on.

'You can't even beat these things.' A part of my mind told me helpfully. I shouted and pushed the spider up and drew my leg back to kick it's amdomin as hard as I could. The kick pushed it into the air and away making a pained squealing noise as my foot pushed it.

I tried to scramble to my feet but a wave of giant rats lept towards me. One of them sunk its teeth into my neck still others bit at my arms and chest.

I drew my scissors and stabbed at the eagle I grabbed the rat on my neck and squeezed hard into it stopped struggling before throwing it aside. The spider lunged for me after the eagle, just like it did before but this time I was ready and pierced it with my scissors. Green fluid burst from the puncture mark in its side and it made another squeal and backed off. I finally got to my feet and crushed a rat under my shoe.

I opened my scissors and sliced through space. Stepping through I collapsed on the other side. My hands falling into the dirt and the lacerations dividing my palms and the cuts on my forearm leaked blood into the dirt.

I cried out as the earth and stone pulled my skin tight and held the wounds open.

I groaned miserably. I can't even beat Ludo's minions. Let alone Toffee. Those animals alone had done a number on me, even without the cunning lizard.

"Useless." I snarled I pounded a hand into the ground the shame in my heart more agonizing than the pain in my hands. "Why am I always so useless?"

'I was only human. I reminded myself. I make mistakes and I'm not perfect.' I told myself, trying to calm down. It was little comfort. Being only human in a universe filled with magic, anthropomorphic lizards, and giant bugs meant I was at the bottom of the food chain.

I felt the sting of tears in his eyes as I gripped the dirt tightly in his hands, absently rubbing the dirt in my wounds.

I opened my eyes. The contract was there between his hands as I crouched in the dirt like a dog.

This contract… it could be exactly what I needed. I could win my soul back later but that was only if I survived. Sure I could run, but that would mean abandoning Star and even though she had left me, I couldn't bring myself to leave her.

'Please,' I pleaded. 'Give me the power to save her for once.'

I clamped my eyes shut and gripped the paper tight.

"Your blood will do just fine." Marco looked up and met the violet eyes of Attar, through the blur caused by his tears. "We have a deal Mr. Diaz."

"Will it hurt?" I asked the other boy.

He nodded slowly. "Yes. It will be painful."

I nodded, feeling slightly numb. The image of Attar was gone, and I was alone in the mud by the Mewnian shore.

I felt a sting grow from my hands where I held the paper. I watched as liquid silver and purple began to crawl up my flesh.

No, not on my flesh, inside me.

I watched is spread up my hand the pain growing all the while. Light emanated from pockets of purple and underneath my tissue felt like it was being seared, like the glow from cooling magma between silvery newly made rock.

The feeling of burning continued to grow until it felt like someone really had poured magma all over me.

The trail burned a path through my veins the fastest. Growing up my arm like a tributary until it reached my shoulder.

I tried to fight the pain and bit down on my tongue to keep from screaming. I felt tears on my face and when I bit through the fleshy muscle in my mouth I hardly noticed even as I felt my teeth slide through it.

I reached across with my other hand and tried to claw it off. Tearing chunks of meat and skin and muscle out of myself as it spread. It grew back faster than flesh had any right too. Filling in chunks of me like water filling a vessel, and then turning solid. Even as I ripped at himself the growth off the dark grey grew back and spread.

I screamed but the noise was more a gurgle because my mouth had filled with crimson blood.

By the time it reached my face I was silent and kneeling and feeling very little of anything at all.

I felt it grow between my lungs.

I felt it scorch my whole body.

I heard as it melted my ears.

I saw as it burned my eyes.

I faded when it touched my brain.

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It was surely hours by the time it stopped. Maybe days given the position of the sun. I opened my eyes and looked around. Everything appears the same, sounded the same too. The feel of the ground against me hadn't changed.

I had changed.

My body was covered in what appeared to be a black bodysuit, and over it where silvery plates, like a knights armor. The armor gave it an ancient look while the bodysuit reminded him of some sort of futuristic suit.

Across the body suit, lines of purple rain down me, forming something that looked almost like glowing circuitry. It followed my bones and major arteries, and were lit from within by hidden light.

The silver covered my legs like greaves and my shoulders and arms like gauntlets. The plates were thin barely rising above the black of the body suit. Across my chest and back was a single breast plate.

If this stuff completely covered me...

I reached up and felt his face. It was all sleek and met in the center of his face in a ridge.

This ridge which ran all the way from the tip of his chin, over his nose, grew taller and more square and into a plume, and ran back down the side of his head.

The ridge divided his face neatly down the middle.

I breathed in, gaping only to discover that my lungs weren't working the way they usually were. Or maybe they were and they just weren't where they usually were. I could feel my heartbeat coming from a different part of my chest.

My insides burned but not painfully.

I inspected my hands and the deep slices were gone as were the cuts on my forearm.

As I watched I began to come undone. The purple circuits sunk into my skin as the black and silver began to dissolve into tendrils of oily smoke.

I crawled over to the water and gazed at my reflection. The silver armor and mask began to fall away leaving behind tan skin. Glowing purple eyes shrunk inwards and became brown though I could have sworn that there was a glowing needle point of light in the center of each pupil.

The purple that shrank into my skin left behind tattoos. A dark deep purple that was a step shy of black. The marking swirled up to my shoulders and down my arms and legs from the center of my back and the center of my chest. Grown in twisting patterns and smooth curves.

I clenched my fists in the mud.

The armor was gone but I still felt different.

So I waited at the edge of the lake. I wasn't hungry or thirsty, and I wasn't particularly tired. Well I wasn't sleepy, I still felt a body crushing exhaustion.

I looked up at the castle from my muddy shore. I had been sent scurrying away the last time I set foot on the Mewnin shore.

I knew nothing about the power in my chest that burned my heart. I didn't know what it did or how to activate it or even if it was something that needed to be activated, but I could feel it. There was a hunger in me that had nothing to do with food.

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-WG