For a large city, the surrounding blocks were pretty desolate. Percy had been exploring the streets for a solid hour, but he hadn't run into any other people. The only other life he saw was a stray cat or dog.
Were the mortals that afraid of monsters? Saitama had explained to him the purpose of hero association, and it seemed that it held capable it that bad that people would abandon an entire city?
The bald hero was certainly a powerhouse, but surely even he had his limits. Defending an entire city would be a struggle for one person, he knew that from experience.
As he walked, he gazed at the stars, trying to recognize any of the patterns in the night sky. His favorite, The Huntress, was not anywhere in sight. Strangely enough, other constellations, like the Big Dipper, were still there. Maybe mythical stars didn't exist in this universe? It was disheartening that the memory of his childhood friend disappeared, but he'd address it later.
It was time to update the Gods.
Stopping under a street lamp, Percy manipulated the water in the air around him, forming a small mist cloud. The light he stood under formed a rainbow, the perfect communication device.
"Hey Iris, you mind showing me the gods? They're probably on Olympus."
A sweet voice responded out to him.
"Of course,honey. It's the least I can do since you brought us minor gods honor."
"Eh, it's no big deal. Anybody would have done it" Percy responded awkwardly.
"You were offered a seat on Olympus, yet you became a minor god so the rest of us could be respected" Iris said bluntly. "Anyways, here are the Gods."
"Thanks Iris. Good evening Twitter, it's your boy EatDatPu- wait this is the wrong platform. Howdy Olympians, how are y'all this evening."
Zeus looked constipated as he glared at Percy. In the background, Apollo and Hermès could be heard cracking up, and a heavy snort which sounded like Hades.
"Poseidon… the disrespect of your son will not go unexcused" he grit out angrily, trying to keep his cool. Poseidon waved off the threat like it was nothing.
"Eh, whatever, I'm not that worried. Besides, he's earned it."
Before a fight could break out, Athena intervened.
"Hello Perseus, we are having a relatively pleasant night. Though I must say, technically you're in Japan, so I don't think they say 'Howdy' there. What have you learned so far?"
"It's Percy" he mumbled before summoning a notebook with his free hand. "Upon my arrival to this universe, my first interaction with the inhabitants was two of them fighting. One of them appeared to be a mutated cyclops, which I dispatched quickly. The other was a mortal, but unlike any that I have ever seen before."
This caught the Gods attention, and those that weren't paying attention were now zoned in.
"I am certain he is the strongest being on this planet, even more so than me. He could put Hercules to shame, and the rest of us gods at that."
Uproar broke out immediately, the idea of a mere mortal who wielded more power than them was impossible, unbelievable, it had to be a lie.
"SILENCE!" Zeus thundered, effectively shutting up the room. "Has he shown any ill intentions towards you?"
"Nah, me and him talked while I busted him out of the ship. I cooked dinner for him tonight too. He's gonna show me how things work around here, and I'll probably end up rooming near him." Percy spoke like he was talking about a drinking buddy, rather than an all powerful being.
"Are all the mortals like this?"
Percy thought a moment before answering.
"Well, not exactly. Saitama's leagues ahead of all the other mortals, but he's definitely an anomaly. In this world, it seems like they have come up with a way to combat the monsters, and it's mildly effective. Most of the mortals are completely normal, but technology has completely advanced the playing field."
Percy flipped through some pages in his notebook, reading his findings intently.
"Very few mortals have powers in the so-called 'hero association', but their second strongest hero has telepathic powers, as does her sister. There are some strange powers too, such as one who possess immense gluttony. He literally eats the monsters."
Aphrodite looked green at this, and Dionysus shot coke out of his nose. The gods all looked at him for a moment.
"What?! I didn't expect some guy to eat monsters!"
Percy shook his head before continuing.
"As I was saying, the technology has changed the game for mortals. They have access to extremely advanced robotics. The things I've seen are comparable to Hephaestus' automatons. Flying machines with nuclear capability, and cybernetics that I've never seen before. The disciple of Saitama, the godlike mortal, is a cyborg."
The forge god hmphed in his throne. No mortals could craft something better than him!
"On a more simple note, most of the hero's seem quite normal, and rely on combat arts. Some of the top heroes are martial artists, and others use weapons like demigods do, well, not Greek weapons, technically. Their prowess in the arts though, is unparalleled, so I've heard."
Ares didn't believe that for a second. He wanted to teleport to this world and show them who was boss!
"For mortals, what they have going is most impressive, but it's nothing we couldn't handle. Saitama, on the other hand, is a whole different story. While his strength is immense, it seems he has lost what makes him human. He doesn't feel any emotions, and apparently he lost his hair too. His power has dumbed him down quite a bit, too. His condition is akin to depression, but I also think it's just extreme boredom."
"Do you have a picture of this 'Saitama'?" Hades asked.
"Oh, yeah, gimme a second."
The screen went dark for a moment, before lighting up again. The scene had changed, and Percy was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, they heard his voice, although he was hidden.
"What you are viewing are my memories. This will be from when I met Saitama."
From the perspective of Percy, the gods saw a strange looking cyclops ranting about how incredible they were, and the strongest being on the planet.
There was nothing outstanding about him. The most distinctive feature about him was his shiny bald head. He had a strange yellow costume on, and a torn up white cape hung loosely behind him. His head was egglike, extremely round and smooth.
Aphrodite retched in the background.
"Ewwww, gross! He's so, like, soooo, unremarkable. I would not have kids with him at all!"
The gods kept watching as Percy evaporated the cyclops, and in front of them Saitama transformed.
Gone was the weird bald man, now replaced with an intimidating hero. His features had sharpened immensely, he had a visible jawline, his eyebrows were angled, his head even looked less round. Muscles protruded from his costume, showing off his shredded physique. He definitely looked like the strongest man on the planet now.
"Ohmigods! I'd totally smash him! Look at those abs, I bet he's packing!" Aphrodite shrieked as the man transformed. It only lasted a moment though, as his features softened again and he continued to look bored. The scene shifted back to Percy standing in a dimly lit sidewalk.
"Awwww, he's gone. Bring him back!"
"Er, Aph, Ares is right there, and your actual husband is like a few thrones away from you."
At least they had better looks than the strongest mortal ever.
The gods looked intrigued as they analyzed the strange man. Admittedly, they had no idea what to think of him, but their pride as gods wouldn't allow them to voice that.
Hestia, ever wise and soft spoken, offered a solution.
"Perhaps you should stay close to him? Learn what makes him tick. Join him on his escapades?"
"I was planning on that, milady. The hero association does sound pretty fun, and they get paid, so I'll definitely join it."
"Why does she get respect…" Zeus grumbled.
Athena brought up another point quickly before more arguing could break out.
"You spoke of the heroes defending civilians from these monsters. What do you make of the creatures?" She asked.
"Honestly, the only monster I've seen so far was Boros, the cyclops you saw in my memory. Saitama has told me though that Boros was the most tough opponent he's fought in a while, but he was just stretching out the fight, so I didn't learn much from that."
Percy thought for a moment before something clicked.
"I did some research on the hero association, and I found out they rank monsters by threat level. I believe it goes wolf, tiger, demon, dragon, and god level. Wolf being weakest and god being strongest."
"Yeah, that's easy to understand, punk." Ares quipped.
"You actually understood something with your tiny brain? Wow, color me impressed." Percy shot back.
"I'll show you tiny brain!"
Athena shut them up quickly.
"Both of you, we're getting off track. If you want to play who has the bigger brain, I will win. Tell us about the monsters, Perseus."
He muttered something about smart people being annoying and fiddled with his notes a bit.
"According to the hero association, Boro would have been considered a high dragon level threat, because he destroyed an entire city. Saitama dealt with him easily, but I doubt the threat level really matters to him. I will join the hero's to explore the variety of monsters, and maybe do a bit of hunting on my own."
Artemis nodded her head in approval at this.
"It also appears that there are some notorious human villains too, capable of some serious destruction. Apparently, Saitama has a self proclaimed rival, some ninja who attacks him all the time. He is capable of leveling buildings, and for a mortal, that's impressive."
"You speak of all this, yet you have no experience in this world?" Zeus inquired. "How can we trust this information? Could you be plotting to overthrow me?"
All the gods groaned in unison.
"Dude, first off, I learned all of this by word of mouth, and from a literal cyborg. Second, I'm loyal to Olympus, and I'm the only one on the quest, so you'll have to trust me. Third, I don't care for your position, and if I wanted to overthrow you, I could, and you know this."
Percy took a second to cool down before continuing.
"Sorry about that, he was getting on my nerves. Anyways, it also seems that humans can become monsters. I'm not sure how it works really, but some people become so invested in something, that eventually they turn into some humanoid version of it. A man ate so many crabs, he became a crab monster. Some dude loved his car so much, he became a hybrid man car thing. It's pretty strange, I won't lie, so I'll have to research it more."
The gods were silent for a moment, pondering all of this new information. A human stronger than the gods? Mortals turning into monsters? It was a very different reality from their own.
Would this happen to their world without the mist too? How long would it take for changes to take place. Would the mortals even worship the gods?
All these questions ran through Athena's mind at a mile a minute. The other gods were in a similar state, questioning many things.
"Well, that's all I have for today, I'll update you soon?"
Zeus had been thinking about how hot a female superhero could be, and his rage towards Percy had simmered a bit, so he answered for the other gods.
"Your information has been enlightening, nephew. Despite the disrespect you have shown me, I will let it slide, as you are important on this quest. Let us know any information you have found in a week from today. We will be waiting."
"Aye aye, captain!"
Before Zeus could display his anger once more, the Iris message cut off, leaving Percy snickering. He was lost in his thoughts for a moment before snapping out of it quickly.
Something was off.
It was oddly quiet, even for an abandoned city. The bugs weren't chirping, the wind wasn't blowing, all the noise had just died down.
Stretching out his senses, Percy felt the area around him, trying to find the disturbance.
And he found it.
Percy locked onto the monster but made no moves against it, he wanted to see how this would play out. Using the water in the air around the monster, he created an image based on how the water molded, and boy was it ugly.
The monster was fleshy, built like a sumo wrestler, but it had way too many limbs. Four arms rested on its torso while eight more sat on its head, pointing up and flailing around. The whole body was supported by girthy, but stubby legs.
That is one ugly monster, what in the world.
The strange monster in question still believed it was hidden and observed the man. Originally, Gyoro Gyoro had been resting deep beneath City Z, but then he felt it. His psychic abilities had picked up a strange energy, yet it drew him in. Flying from the earth, the monster rushed to the scene, only to arrive to a lone man on the streets.
The man seemed lost in thought and stopped for a moment before locking eyes with Gyoro Gyoro. Well, his cover was blown. How was that possible though? He had hidden himself and moved more silent than a ninja. No registered hero's would have been able to find him.
Leaping off the building, Gyoro Gyoro landed with a flop, his blubbery body mushing into the ground before springing back. Approaching the man cautiously, he watched for any reactions, looking for any fear or trepidation, yet he saw none.
Stopping a few feet away, man and monster faced each other on the street, neither moving or speaking.
The monster broke the staring contest first.
"You saw me even as I hid myself. How is that possible?"
"I could smell you" Percy lied smoothly. "This should be interesting, you're the first monster I've seen so far."
If Gyoro Gyoro had an eyebrow, he would have raised it.
"The first monster you've seen so far? Surely you've experienced the terror of monsters destroying your city?"
"Ah, oops. I'm from outside the city, so I've never seen a monster in person before, but I've heard of them." Inwardly, Percy snickered. He knew monsters better than anyone, just none from this world.
"Of course. Our reputation precedes us. Many who bear witness to our destruction do not live to tell about it."
"Yeah yeah. Are we gonna exchange names before we duke it out or what?" Percy cracked his knuckles in a joking manner.
"I do not wish to fight, merely observe. I felt an energy with my powers and wished to curb my curiosity. It was like nothing I have felt before. It was almost… primal. You asked for an introduction, so you shall receive. I am Gyoro Gyoro, advisor of the monster association, threat level dragon." The strange looking monster spoke with pride.
"You're so wordy. Anyways, I'm Percy Jackson, civilian, and I like blue food! What's with the arms on your head?"
Gyoro Gyoro's single eye narrowed at Percy's half-assed introduction.
"We both know you're not normal. My psychic powers drew me to you, and I wish to know why, with force if necessary."
"Woah, you're one of those espers?! I've heard about your powers! That's so cool, make stuff float! Pleaseeeeeeeee?"
The blob-like deadpanned balked at Percy's childish antics.
"I will satisfy your needs as long as you reciprocate."
Percy made a face and started gagging.
"Ew, that sounds weird. Make stuff float first and then I'll show you."
The world around him glowed green as rocks and other debris started floating. Gyoro Gyoro had his four arms raised, controlling the objects as they moved in tandem with him. Meanwhile, Percy was hopping around and clapping, his eyes wide with amusement as things flew over his head.
"Wooohooooo this is so cool. Yayyyy the gummy esper monster is funny!"
Gyoro Gyoro was starting to regret his decision to investigate the energy. Not only had it disappeared from his radar, but he had to deal with a mysterious, yet immature man. Sighing, he dropped the rocks and looked expectantly at Percy.
"I have entertained you enough, now show me what I came for." He practically demanded.
"Fine fine, but next time we meet, I want it to be in person."
The monster was shocked. That knowledge was privy to only one other person, and he was the king of all monsters.
"How do you know that?!" Gyoro Gyoro screeched, yet its voice was different. Instead of a low baritone of a man, it was feminine and smooth.
"Woah, your voice is different. Hehe that's weird. Well, honestly it wasn't that hard. I just followed the trail your power left and it leads me back to someone else. Plus I can't sense any heartbeat from that body, so I'm assuming it's a puppet."
"Are you an esper as well? I don't recall any others your age besides the two sisters."
"Nah, I'm something cooler than that. Besides, I'm sure you'll be hearing about me soon. I'm gonna register with the hero association!" Percy exclaimed, holding out a fist with excitement. "Anyways, since you showed me your magic, I'll show you mine. Also, what's your real name, I don't want to be speaking to a puppet, I want the real you."
"You may refer to me as Psykos, and it's not magic, it's my esper abilities!"
Her rant was cut short as power exploded from Percy, bringing her to her knees. His eyes flowed a brilliant green and he had his arms splayed out wide. The air around the two seemed to thicken immensely, though only Psykos was affected. Pressure built up on the floppy monster as the air literally started to smush her.
Using her four arms, Psykos stopped herself from falling face first onto the ground, but the weight around her was so great that she started sinking lower and lower. Her arms strained as she resisted, but it was no use. Just as she was about to kiss the floor, the weight lifted, and Psykos gasped in relief.
"Sorry to flex, but you did say you wanted it. Here, have a cookie. You can eat cookies, right?"
Percy waved a blue cookie in the shaking monsters face. He did feel a little pity because he remembered being in the same situation before. It wasn't pleasant at all. That was the first and last time he dropped a sword in front of an opponent.
Shaking himself from the memory, Percy looked at Psykos and the cookie in his hand before shrugging.
"Can you not eat cookies? That sucks, your loss." Before taking a huge bite out of it. Still, the monster in front of him didn't respond. "Hey, Uh, you good there? Maybe I went a little overboard."
Suddenly, Psykos muttered something he couldn't hear.
"Huh, what was that? You're gonna have to speak up."
The lone eye of the monster finally met with Percy's green ones.
"You're a god." She whispered, mostly to herself, but Percy picked it up.
He glared harshly at her, and Psykos flinched back.
"How do you know that?!" He hissed out, before composing himself. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap, but how do you know about the gods?"
The monster was shaking and refused to make eye contact.
"Your power is unlike anything I've felt before. I'm sure the other espers felt it too. My mother used to tell me stories about you all, before… she gave me away. You also summoned a cookie out of nowhere." She smiled slightly at the end.
Plus, you also look like a god.
Unknowing to her, Percy could hear that thought, and he shifted awkwardly. He just wanted to meet a monster, not get hit on by one.
"Please, take me with you! I'll tell you anything about the monster association, I just don't want to be on the wrong side of the battle! If you're going to be a hero, it's hopeless for them. Please, I'll do anything!"
Psykos was groveling at Percy's feet, her four arms grasping at his legs.
"Hey now, none of that. Get up, we can talk like people." Grabbing the monster, he hefted her up like nothing, before walking off and gesturing her to follow. Psykos hurried after him.
"I could help you, but I'm going to sign up to be a hero, and I can't be housing a monster. Besides, it's like my second day here, so I don't even have a house, though I could fix that easily."
"This is just a puppet!" She cried out. "Please, just take me with you. I… I don't want to be a monster anymore."
Percy paused before looking over to Psykos.
"Let's go get you then. If I take you in though, you have to promise no more monster business or any other bad stuff. Got it?"
She nodded her head vigorously, the eight arms flopping around.
"So this is the base of the monster association?"
An unimpressive building sat in front of him.
"No, Percy, the entrance is over here." Using one of her four arms to gesture to a giant sewer drain. "We are based underground, a building full of monsters would be suspicious."
"Do we have to go in? It smells bad."
"I have to go in, you can wait out here. I have to get rid of this body or the other cadres will suspect something."
With that, the floppy monster walked alone into the association, leaving Percy outside the tunnel.
"Cadres, what's that?"
It is the term we use for other leaders of the association.
"What the heck! You're in my head! Oh, right, you're a magician."
The proper term is esper.
"Whatever, same thing. Do monsters shower? I bet living in the sewers makes them smell bad. Hey, wait a minute, your real body is down there too, so you probably smell!"
Psykos sighed, this god was childish, and he went on tangents often. It was quite endearing. Yet, she knew he had a darker side as well, it was terrifying. It made her want to spill her secrets and beg for mercy.
"You know, I can still hear your thoughts. Whenever you're clear, just let me know and I'll pop in."
"You know, teleport in and grab you?"
NOT THAT! YOU CAN HEAR MY OTHER THOUGHTS? THE ONES I DON'T SEND TO YOU?
"Oh, that. Well, yeah, our minds are connected right now and I can see everything in your head. No worries, your secrets are safe, and I won't judge you, I've done bad stuff too."
A grating and sinister voice interrupted their mental conversation.
"Welcome back, Gyoro Gyoro. How was your misadventure in the city? Find any cute faces to cut off?"
"Remove yourself from my path, Face Ripper. I have important business to deal with,otherwise you will be the next meal of Orochi." Her deep, masculine voice back in place.
Psykos, despite spending much of her time as a meat puppet with the monsters, still felt slightly uncomfortable at the appearance of the new monster. Perhaps it was because she was still a human, albeit a messed up one. Maybe it was the madness she saw in Face Ripper, and recognized it in herself. Still, she hid her true feelings behind the blob the monsters knew as Gyoro Gyoro.
Percy, curious to what monster caused her to feel that way, extended his sense to watch the confrontation.
The monster in question was built like a cyclops who had been on a vegetarian diet. He had some bulk to him, yet he was lean in a big guy way. His whole body was covered in faces, each locked in a permanent scream. It looked like they had been sewed onto his skin one by one. The face on his head looked unnatural. He was hairless, and his smile extended too far up one side of his face.
"Meh, I've seen worse."
You will have to tell me about that later.
"Will do, but you gotta get to a safe place first."
Face Ripper moved a hand to where his heart would be.
"Oh how you wound me. I greet you so kindly, yet you disregard me."
"I have no time for your act, move at once."
The monstrosity stepped aside.
"You should know, we're getting antsy. Some of the others want action soon. Goketsu had to snuff out another uprising."
Gyoro Gyoro stepped past Face Ripper and continued on through the dark tunnel.
"Do you forget I am also a cadre? Of course I know already. Shall I remind you of your place in the hierarchy?" She still had her back turned to the monster but her walk had slowed.
Face Ripper held up his hands in surrender.
"Now, there's no need for that. I know where I belong."
"Good, and don't forget it." She said menacingly, before continuing onwards.
Unruly monsters, stupid stupid stupid. So annoying to deal with.
"Hah, I'd say you handled him pretty well. How much longer, I'm getting hungry."
I only need to return to my private residence, and then you can retrieve me. The others won't notice anything unusual for a while.
Gyoro Gyoro walked into a massive circular room. The walls extended upwards for many levels, no doubt all the way to the surface. On each level, monsters of all shape and size roamed around, chatting or interacting however they normally do. In the middle of the room, a giant hole sat, and Percy could feel the unease from Psykos, even if it was minuscule.
"What's in there?" He asked curiously.
At the bottom lies Orochi, king of the monsters. He is of my creation, and the most powerful of us all. Besides you of course.
Percy thought of another, more powerful being than him.
"Oh, well that's cool. Hurry up, my stomach is grumbling."
I have arrived. You can come get me now. I haven't seen the light of day in months.
"It's still night time. Anyways, I'm popping in."
In Psykos' room, a silent, yet bright flash illuminated the room for a second, revealing Percy Jackson in all his glory. Looking around for the monster he noticed how bland it was. A basic kitchen on one side, with a couch in the middle of the room. In the corner sat a small bed, with a desk nearby.
Gyoro Gyoro was sitting in the bed, facing away from him.
"Huh, do monsters even need to sleep?"
A feminine voice answered him, but it sounded slightly different than normal.
"Well, they don't, but in order to control my puppets, I do."
Turning around, Percy faced the woman he came to pick up.
"No sleep at all? No wonder they're so angry, they don't rest… woah. You look different than I thought."
Psykos was beautiful. Long blue hair flowed from her head, and piercing green eyes met his own. Her curvy figure only helped to compliment her looks. Thin plastic glasses rested on her nose. Overall, she looked… alluring.
"What did you think I'd appear as?"
Percy looked sheepish for a moment, and scratched his head awkwardly.
"Er, uh, well… you know. I - Uh, based on your monster form, uh." He stuttered out.
Psykos smiled from joy for the first time in years, flashing perfectly straight and white teeth,
"I'm just teasing. Shall we leave? I remember you said you were hungry."
Taking her hand in his, he smiled back at her.
"Of course milady, though I doubt any restaurants are open right now. You know, I was thinking of starting my own restaurant before becoming a hero."
"Is that cheating because you can summon food?"
"No, It's a business venture so we can live easily!"
With that, the pair teleported out, leaving an empty husk of a meat puppet and an army of monsters behind.
Psykos' neck was starting to hurt from looking up so much, and her face was getting sore.
It had been ages since she last saw the stars, and even longer since she had genuinely smiled. Now, she was free from her life as a monster, and able to enjoy the world once more. The madness in her heart and mind was starting to fade, and the reality of what she had been doing came crashing down at once.
Tears started pouring from her eyes, and she tried to hide her face from Percy.
"I'm… I'm a monster! I really am, all of the things I've done, I'm terrible!"
"Hey, it's ok. You're not a monster, you never have and never will be. A few bad decisions here and there don't dictate who you are."
She glared at him, her eyes rimmed red.
"I helped start a whole band of monsters to rise against humanity. I've manipulated and used people. I created the king of the beasts. Of course I'm a monster! You can't possibly know how I feel!"
Percy's friendly smile wavered slightly.
"I do know how you feel, I've been in your shoes before. I've slaughtered children because they were on the wrong side of a war. I've torn apart families and ended bloodlines because I was ordered to. I have more blood of innocent people on my hands than you can imagine."
Pulling her into a hug, Percy held onto her in a comforting manner, whispering soothing words into her ears.
"What you've done in the past doesn't make you a monster. Do you regret your actions?"
"Would you do it again?"
"There, problem solved. You're not a monster. Maybe you were misguided, but you can change that, and I'll help you along the way."
Releasing her from his bear hug, Psykos' sniffles died down, and she finally met Percy's eyes.
"I never said thank you for bringing me with you…"
He waved it off.
"Oh it's no big deal, I'm happy to help, it's what heroes do. Plus I'm lonely and need to make friends."
"Do you consider us friends?" She asked shyly.
"Of course! We aren't enemies so we can be friends!"
Psykos smiled widely at this, she hadn't had a friend in a very long time.
"Do you still have a cookie? I feel quite famished."
"Oh yeah let me get one." With a flourish of his hands a cookie appeared in his hands.
"I'm the god of blue food, it's my thing."
Taking it in her hands, she gobbled it down quickly. This would be the start to a very beautiful friendship.
"Thank you for everything, Percy."