Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, Disney's Aladdin, Magic the Gathering, or Worm. And while I may own a copy of the 2nd Edition AD&D Red Box I don't own the rights to it – I'm just borrowing the basic idea and anything in bold lettering is a direct quote.
Thanks to Dogbertcarrol, Dyllan-a-Friend, JoeLawyer, Sandmanwake, Kerrain, and Isebas for your reviews. And especially thanks to all of the people who gave this story a follow.
Isebas – The Simurgh is awakening more End Bringers as an insurance policy. Her long-range precognition predicts a high probability that Leviathan will die at Brockton Bay and Behemoth will be dead within the year. If she dies without waking others, then that puts the cycle at risk. The whole reason the Endbringers exist are to cause triggering events among the survivors and to battle capes as part of the information gathering process. Entropy isn't going to defeat itself.
Sandmanwake – Well he'd have to experience being teleported to learn how to do it. And if it's not wizarding magic, he'll have to burn mana to do so. The familiar bond with Hedwig is a good idea, and I'll have to think on that very carefully. I can see two possibilities. One, the familiar bond either never existed or was severed when Harry ignited, or two, Hedwig gains a portion of Harry's power via the bond – meaning she can come and go between spheres at will. Combined with her post-owl abilities and she'd be able to home in on anyone Harry has met. Which would be a bit of cheat to be honest. Like I said, I'll have to think on it very carefully and how much I want to change my rough outline.
Kerrain – I don't plan on Harry sticking around Earth Bet much longer. Even then, I hesitate to send him to Maine. That's Steven King country.
A Sirius Interlude
One week ago...
Sirius had to stop and catch his breath after that climb. The hill was fairly steep and he wasn't used to such exertion. At the top he quickly spotted a small hamlet that had him reminiscing about Hogsmeade just from the they way the town looked. He could also see a large patch of woods with what looked like a ruined keep.
Not wanting to take the chance that the magical world was hidden here, he quickly disillusioned himself before heading to the town. The walk had taken nearly twenty-minutes – the hill was steep and the footing treacherous. Not to mention the distance involved.
Finally reaching the town Sirius observed that there was a wooden palisade around the town with gatehouses at either end. He also noticed there were no modern vehicles – everyone was either using horses, oxen, or manual labor to drive wooden carts. He almost thought he'd traveled back in time were it not for the fact that at least one man with a bow and quiver of arrows that was obviously a guard had fine features and pointed ears – having read some muggle fantasy books on a whim while he was on the run, Sirius realized the man was an elf! Another guard was a rather gruff looking dwarf armed with some sort of poleaxe and a tower shield.
Easily bypassing the two guards, though the elf seemed to notice him as he passed as the elf's head turned to look at where he was and he had a frown on his face. The dwarf that was manning the gate turned to see what the elf was looking at but saw nothing.
"What in Moradan's beard is your problem, Immeril?" he said gruffly.
"I thought I felt someone walk by," the elf admitted as he turned back to his post.
Sirius didn't stick around to hear the dwarf's response as he hurried deeper into the town. As he walked he could tell this was a decent sized town and was mostly inhabited by humans with the occasional dwarf or elf thrown in. There were even hobbits walking around barefoot.
Sirius wandered around the town carefully so as not to bump into anyone while invisible. He took note that the main drag held a smithy right next to the stables, which wasn't far from an inn called the Red Dragon – complete with a wooden sign that had a dragon carved into it painted red. There was also a herbalists shop, a small odds and ends shop, and what he'd picked up from the local gossip the tower in the middle of the town belonged to a wizard named Nethril.
Feeling tired and hungry, and realizing he had no money Sirius quickly realized he needed to find a quick source of funds. Ducking into a small alleyway he canceled his disillusionment spell and cast "Point me lost money."
His wand spun a few times and lead him deeper into the alley way where he found a few copper coins someone had dropped. Stooping to pick up the coins he heard voices from around a corner and cast a notice-me-not on himself as he hid.
"Honestly, Slinker, do you really think I care that you can't pay me?" A gruff voice hissed as he manhandled a man into the alleyway. "You know how it works, I loan you ten crowns, you pay me back fifteen before the week is through. Hard to do anything thieving if I cut your forning fingers off!"
"I can pay you back, Dorn. Before midnight even! I'll have thirty crowns for you! The old buzzard was supposed to leave yesterday morning but got delayed. He just left an hour ago so as soon as it gets dark I can slip in his house and rob him blind!" The smaller man said fearfully.
The man named Dorn snorted and slammed Slinker into the wall even as he drew a dagger. "You think I'm foolish enough to believe that? You'll skip town soon as you're outta my sight!"
Before Dorn could stab the smaller thief, Sirius stunned the man – dropping him to the ground. Of course, that broke the notice-me-not and Slinker stared in wide-eyed disbelief as the wizard stood there with a wand on him.
"Oh gods, I'm in for it now. The guild will think I led him into an ambush!" Slinker wailed.
"Oh hush, lad. I'll just modify his memory into thinking he already paid you back. You mind telling me who you were planning on robbing tonight?" Sirius said as he hit the thief with a compulsion spell to tell him the truth.
"What? Oh, old man Herfang. He's a money-lender – a legitimate one. Thing is, he likes tricking farmers into contracts that lets him seize their lands if they are even a coin short or a minute late in paying back," Slinker rambled.
"So, a villain that hides behind the law?" Sirius asked – thinking of all of the Death Eaters that bent the law until it was basically meaningless.
"You have no idea. Main reason I was hitting him was to destroy his contracts," The thief admitted.
Sirius quickly robbed Dorn and passed Slinker fifteen gold coins that had a crown design on them. "I'll wipe the last few minutes from his memories. You give him those coins so you're debt is settled. Tonight, I'll help you with your little heist and we'll split the coin down the middle, sound good lad? We'll meet up at the Red Dragon at sunset."
Slinker just nodded in amazement. "Who are you? I've never seen anyone use magic like that," he said in amazement. "Can I learn it?"
"The names Sirius Black. And not unless you are born with the gift, you can't," Sirius admitted as he finished with Dorn and woke him up.
"Huh... wha happened?" the loan-shark moaned.
"Some bloody bastard tried to rob you and the kid here... big fella, looked like his mother was a troll he did. I managed to get the drop on him and ran him off," Sirius said smoothly. "You lads should be careful where you conduct your business."
Sirius quickly left the alleyway – heading for the inn with a smile on his face. Well that's my basic needs taken care of for the next few days. Now I just need to figure out a way to get home.
The robbery at Herfang's place was an easy job. Apparently the miser thought four guards would be enough to secure his property. Sirius simply used a confundus on them to make them ignore anyone else on the property – allowing the thief and wizard to figuratively loot the place to the bedrock. Sirius had purchased a good trunk and spent the rest of the afternoon layering enchantments on it to to expand the interior space. That combined with shrinking spells meant even the furniture was stolen.
Slinker had been in complete awe, though he did point out that there wasn't really any place to sell so much furniture or paintings. Sirius just grinned. "No, but they can be busted up for firewood or make a camping trip a mite bit more comfortable."
As agreed, the pair split the coin and valuables down the middle – though Slinker took most of his share in things like jewelry, silverware, candlesticks, and the like as he could more easily hock them among his thieves' guild contacts.
And of course all of the contracts for loans that Herfang had were destroyed. While the thief didn't outright admit it, Sirius had a strong suspicion that the old man had seriously screwed Slinker's family over.
Sirius shook his head as he mused over last week's robbery, taking another pull of his beer as he and Slinker sat in the pub celebrating their newfound wealth now that the last of the goods that were worth the effort had been hocked. Of course, Sirius had shared his story with Slinker and how he was looking for a way home now. Slinker thought Sirius was more than a bit mad, but they wizard had helped him make an easy job even easier and saved his life.
"Well, if you did come to Mystara by a magical portal, you'll need to talk to Nethril about getting back to your world. No other wizard in Karameikos is as learned as him. Not unless you wanna head to the capital and try to talk to the Guild Wizards – and they don't won't help any they see as being a potential rival. I've heard stories that they are in tight with the assassin's guild and have a habit of arranging 'accidents' for non-guild mages," Slinker said.
Sirius's response was interrupted by a horn from the town square.
"What's the village crier doin' blowin' his horn this time of night?" The barkeep asked as everyone started heading outside to see what was going on. Once the town square was filled, the crier made his announcement.
"Hear ye, hear ye hear ye! A terrible tragedy has bestruck this fair city. The High Wizard Nethril needs stout heroes to undertake a dangerous quest. If there be a thief, warrior, and wizard brave enough to match his words with deeds, let him follow me to the high wizard's tower!"
"That was some fancy speech he used. Almost like it was written by someone who doesn't know how people actually talk," Sirius commented – earning a snort from Slinker.
"You know," Slinker said as he rubbed his chin. "I bet if we help Nethril with his little problem he'll help you with yours."
"What's this 'we' business, Slink? I didn't figure you for the heroic type," Sirius said with a small grin as he cast sobering charms on himself and his young friend.
"Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be out doing some good. Only joined the guild 'cause I got pinched trying to steal a loaf of bread by one of the members and didn't feel like getting kneecapped," Slinker admitted. "Maybe this is my chance to get a fresh start."
"Maybe," Sirius agreed. "Shall we go see what the high wizard wants?"
"We shall," Slinker agreed with a grin as the pair went to wait next to the town crier. They were joined by a dwarf in chain armor with a battleaxe and shield, an elf with a bow strapped to his back that wasn't wearing any armor at all, and a human in leather armor with priestly vestments over it..
"So... I'm Sirius Black – wizard extraordinaire. This is my friend Slinker, who might you all be?" Sirius said – turning up the charm.
"I am Lordran – cleric of St. Cuthbert," the human said – offering his hand to shake. Sirius took it, hiding his surprise when Lordran grasped his forearm instead of his hand. Sirius could tell the cleric was doing his best to remain stoic and was doing a decent job of hiding his nervousness.
The dwarf nodded at the three humans. "I'm Delvar of Clan Ironfist," he said gruffly – though he made no move to offer to shake hands.
The elf examined the others before introducing himself. "Silverleaf Halfmoon is the direct translation of my name in the common-tongue," he finally said with a voice that was entirely too close to Lucius Malfoy for Sirius to feel like trusting the elf.
"Splendid," Sirius said with a cheeky grin. "Since I think we're the only ones coming let's go see what Nethril wants, shall we?"
The small band traveled to the tower and were met by a very stern looking man who was like a male version of McGonagall. "I am Mannert, the High Wizard's majordomo. Walk this way," he said as he limped towards the tower entrance.
"You heard the man, walk this way," Sirius said as he imitated the man's limp. Slinker couldn't help but snicker at his friend's antics. Sirius knew if he turned around he'd see disapproval from the other three.
"Fool acts like a damned bard," he heard Delvar mutter.
Once inside they were directed to the wizard's office at the very top of the tower – which Sirius noted wasn't too dissimilar to Dumbledore's office.
Are all old wizards the same? He briefly pondered. And Nethril was old. Possibly older than Dumbledore even with a wizard's natural longevity.
"Thank you for coming. I'll be brief and to the point. Two days ago, the elven lord, Taran, set off on a secret mission to the ruins of Demara's castle and, well, he's not returned. I fear he has come to a foul end."
Sirius could hear Silverleaf's breath hitch – so he knew the elf knew (or knew of) this Taran. But Silverleaf remained silent. It was Lordran who spoke up. "Why would he need to investigate the ruins?"
"Before he left, he said something about an ogre, and an orb – a singing orb. If the orb falls into evil hands it will be death or slavery for everybody in the realm. For all this, I'll pay you a hundred gold coins. Not a copper more."
Something was off – Sirius had spent two years as an auror and he'd been a damned good one, too. Nethril was keeping something from them about this so-called orb.
"What aren't you telling us about the orb?" Sirius insisted.
Nethril gave Sirius a shrewd look. "The orb was the Orb of Dragonform. It allowed it's user to turn into a dragon," Nethril said simply.
"A hundred coins each for such a dangerous job seems a bit low," Slinker spoke up. "Two hundred seems more fair. Plus my friend here needs help finding his homeland."
"I can agree to two hundred. And where are you from?" Nethril asked Sirius.
"I'm from Britain, which is on the planet Earth. I was battling a dark wizard's followers while trying to save my godson and his friends when I as blasted through a magical archway we all knew as the Veil of Death," Sirius explained.
"The Veil of Death? I've never heard of it but I'll see if I can find anything out," Nethril agreed.
"Good enough for me," Sirius agreed.
AN: I had thought of only posting the intermission while I continued to work on Chapter 4, to paraphrase Star Lord "I may be an asshole, but I'm not a complete dick."
AN2: Direct quotes from worm Extermination 8.1 are in bold. You might also notice I changed my scene break format. FFdotNet is doing weird things to my formatting for the scene breaks. I should probably go back and change the older chapters... nah it'll be fine.
"You're going? You aren't even officially a hero yet!" Danny yelled at Taylor as she quickly stood up and rushed for her room. Harry stood up and went to pull on his one piece motorcycle riding suit. It was heavily reinforced so would offer some protection – even if it wasn't actually a costume.
Come to think of it, I don't even have a way to conceal my face, he thought – not wanting to spend a mana on something that wasn't even important in the end run.
"I have to do something, Dad!" Taylor shouted from her room.
"Too much like your mother," Danny muttered as he went to the small safe hidden behind a painting and started pulling out copies of their important documents and tossing them into a backpack. Looking at Harry, Danny pleaded "You'll keep her safe, right?"
"As safe as I can," Harry promised solemnly. He didn't really know what to expect with an Endbringer attack – he'd only barely glanced at the reports that time he'd spent at the library.
With my luck, that was a mistake, he realized. I can't afford to keep making those sorts of mistakes!
Taylor came back down and was soon crushed by her father's hug. "You be safe. You hear me? I'll be at the shelter under First Methodist."
"I'll be fine," she swore to her dad. "They'll probably put me with search and rescue or something."
"Where do we need to go, anyway?" Harry asked.
"I'm sure one of the cops will know, want me to carry you?" Taylor offered.
Harry hesitated briefly. "I think I could use a blue mana to make my motorcycle fly... but I should probably conserve my mana."
"Why can't you just enchant yourself like you did me?" she asked as she scooped Harry up in arms and started flying over the crowd of people making their way to the closest shelter.
"I don't know how... I think enchantments that would affect me aren't the same one that I can put on others. So I don't know that spell yet," Harry confessed – having to speak up a bit as they were moving pretty quickly. Luckily Taylor spotted a squad car at an intersection as the police had set up sawhorses to force people to leave their cars and travel on foot – as per the emergency procedures.
Landing next to the patrolmen, Harry hopped down and followed Taylor's lead.
"Excuse me, officer, could you tell us - " Taylor asked before one of the cops interrupted her.
"Need to know where to go? Here," he said – grabbing a flier out of his car and handing it to her – though clearly wondering why Harry was just standing there. "Heroes or what?"
"I'm looking to be a hero, was going to sign up with the Wards next week. Harry here is a rogue with a 'saving people thing,'" she told the officer – a teasing tone in her voice for her friend.
The cops smiled and nodded. "Good luck to you kids. I hope you make it," the one who'd handed them the flier said. "Oh, what's your name anyway? You make a name for yourself, I wanna be able to say 'Hey, I met her before she was famous.'"
"Call me Dragonfly," Taylor said as she scooped Harry up and took off – heading for the gathering point not far from the docks where her father worked.
As they flew, Taylor was trying not to shake from fear. She was honestly terrified – even more terrified than when that bitch Sophia shoved her into her own locker – that had been filled with used pads and tampons – and locked her in over the weekend.
Taylor was extremely claustrophobic – and she had been already freaking out from being shoved in the locker. The fact that she spent an entire three-day-weekend in her locker and was only found late Monday night when the deaf custodian noticed a puddle of urine leaking from her locker. By then she'd triggered, and was completely catatonic from sensory overload.
On the plus side, she was no longer claustrophobic. And now here she was flying while carrying a guy she was developing feelings for towards a battle against a monster that for all intents and purposes, could not be killed.
I'm glad I went pee before I changed, she thought as she really didn't want to have to deal with that indignity.
. o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o .
Landing on the street and making their way on foot, they had arrived just in time to see a streak of smoke caused by a large armored suit plunging from the sky and landing – quickly taking up a sentry position and watching the direction of the ocean that was just barely visible past the dockyards. Over the ocean a huge storm cloud hung and a curtain of water was fast approaching.
"Looks like it's gonna be Leviathan," Taylor said.
Dragon Battle Armor. Five colorless mana. Equipped with multiple missiles, a plasma-based-flame-thrower, and can self-destruct, Harry thought as he acquired the AI-driven suit's pattern. Pausing for a moment as they passed the armored robot – one that was as big as two vans Harry had to wonder.
"Can't Leviathan cause tidal waves? How tall do they get?" Harry wondered.
A feminine voice came from the robot. "The first wave is typically twenty feet and they can get up to a hundred."
"I don't think that building can't withstand that sort of punishment," Harry said as a pattern started to resolve itself in his head. "Would a sixteen-inch thick steel curtain wall twenty-feet high and twenty-feet wide at the base help prevent much damage? I mean, sure it's a hollow box, but..."
"It would greatly decrease the damage done, yes. Is that your power?" Dragon asked, a curious tone to 'her' voice.
"One of," he said – pulling in first one colorless, then two. One mana didn't feel like anything but two mana was almost like trying to lift his school trunk alone. The strain of three mana felt like he was wrestling a troll and four had him feeling like fire was racing through his veins. He obviously hadn't spent enough time casting lower-mana spells to build up the channels necessary to avoid mana burn.
The spell he'd cast was Iron Wall, which brought into being a curtain wall that grew up from the ground around the building – complete with a gatehouse that was on the side opposite the ocean. By the time it was done, Harry, Taylor and Dragon were up on the battlements and several of the PRT troops around the building were nearly panicking.
Taylor seemed to notice Harry seemed winded from the effort. "Are you alright?" she asked worriedly.
"I'm fine," Harry said immediately – not wanting to talk about his foolishness of channeling too much power too soon. Not that he'd realized he would strain himself from trying something that big that soon.
"You should get inside," Dragon informed them. "Legend is about to give his briefing.
"Come on Harry, you heard her," Taylor agreed – picking him up and flying him back down to the ground.
They had arrived just in time, as some capes were going around handing out armbands as Legend started to give a speech. Taylor and Harry quickly found seats near the back – sitting behind another group of late arrivals. There were really too many for Harry to acquire all of their patterns but a few stood out to him.
Weld – one red, one colorless. Practically indestructible and can absorb metal. Can reshape his body into nearly anything
Parian – one black. Can animate dolls and stuffed animals. Nothing remotely creepy about that.
Narwhal – three white. Can create force-fields for both attack and defense.
Harry's scanning of capes was interrupted by Legend clearing his throat to gain everyone's attention.
"We owe thanks to Dragon and Armsmaster for their early alert. We've had time to gather, and that means we have just a few more minutes to prepare and brief for Leviathan's arrival, instead of jumping straight into the fray as we arrive. With this advantage, some luck, teamwork, and hard effort from everyone, I hold out hope that this could be one of the good days."
Harry found himself enamored by Legend's voice – barely even catching the comment about one-in-four of the people in the room being dead by the end of the day. It was Taylor's breath hitching that made him replay the last few sentences in his mind.
Bloody hell! One-in-four? That's insane!
Legend had taken a brief pause to look at one of the screens behind him showing footage taken from a cam watching the beach. The torrential downpour had the water churned into a bubbly froth that had Harry thinking about washing dishes for the Dursleys for some damned reason.
The briefing continued. A description of his powers, how hard he was to hurt. The fact that he basically had super-speed. Then the bombshell was dropped. Brockton Bay was sitting on a huge aquifer and if Leviathan wasn't stopped, the entire city would be destroyed from beneath.
Legend paused. "We have to end this fast. Each wave he brings on top of us is stronger than the last. This means we have two priorities. First, we cannot let him out of our sight. From the moment the battle is initiated, we hem him in, sustain an offensive onslaught. If we let him slip past our defensive lines, precious time will be wasted chasing him, getting him in another situation where we can contain his movements.
"Our second priority is that we need to find ways to hurt him. If you cannot, if your attacks are deflected or prove otherwise useless, work to support those who can. It is vain to hope to kill him, but he can be whittled down enough that he will flee back to the ocean, and if we hurt him enough, it may delay the time before he is capable of making another attack elsewhere."
At this point Legend wore a frown. The rain was hammering the windows to the point it was nearly impossible to see the curtain wall Harry had created. Still, his speech continued – extolling the virtues of those who were here to fight against the Endbringers (and also answering Harry's question about why para-humans were tolerated at all). Finally Legend passed the mic to Armsmaster who explained the armbands that were being handed out and sharing the battle plan.
"We are splitting you into groups based on your abilities! If you are confident you can take a hit from Leviathan and get up afterwards, or if you have the ability to produce expendable combatants, we need you on the front line! You will be directed by Alexandria and Dragon!"
"That doesn't really count me just yet," Harry mumbled. While he had some patterns all of the ones that would be useful were considered Legendary and he couldn't summon them on Earth Bet. Probably not any of the different Earths connected to Earth Bet, either.
Taylor passed him an armband, and he cinched it down over his arm. Looking down at the screen he saw a flat, square screen with a satellite view of the surrounding area – including his curtain wall. A display read 'State name.'
"Harry Potter," he told the armband. The display then changed to 'State code name.' Thinking for a moment, he finally said "Seeker."
Taylor stood up and went to join the group of 'movers' who would be responding to 'pings' – either for extraction or to move people around.
Harry quickly found himself standing alone with another group of people that included Tattletale and someone he recognized from the internet – Panacea.
Panacea. One each white, blue and green. Bio-kinetic, can heal nearly anything done to the human body.
Tattletale wondered over to him, giving him a flirty smile. "So what's your shtick?" she asked in a friendly tone.
"I'd think after following me around yesterday you'd already know," he deadpanned.
"So it's true, you can identify capes by their powers even when they aren't in costume. Very dangerous," she warned – getting the attention of several others nearby.
"I can also determine if someone has any weaknesses if I can get within twenty feet of them," Harry added.
"Interesting. You might want to inform Dragon of that little bit," Tattletale told him – just as a wall of water washed over the curtain wall and slammed into the building – causing most of the windows to break and water to pour inwards. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt as it was special glass that had no sharp edges when broken.
Taking the villain's advice, Harry pushed the button on his armband. "Um, Dragon. This is Harry – er... Seeker. If someone can get me within twenty feet of Leviathan I can analyze his abilities and determine if he has any special weaknesses."
"How long will it take?" Dragon's voice asked even as capes were picking themselves up and deploying to chase after the Endbringer.
"About twenty seconds," Harry answered as he helped pull Tattletale to her feet.
"Sending a teleporter. Do not let go of him."
Harry didn't get a good look at the person who teleported in beside him and grabbed him before suddenly his world turned sideways and he found himself inside a building with Leviathan just outside a broken window. As an interesting side effect, Harry now had a pattern for a teleportation spell that would let him bring anyone within a ten-foot radius with him for a single blue mana.
Luckily the Endbringer's back was to them as he was engaged by several heroes battling the monstrosity. A "holy shit," from Tattletale told Harry that she'd come along for the ride. Shaking his head Harry studied their enemy.
Speaking out loud to his armband, Harry shared his observations. "Endbringer Leviathan – Child of The Warrior. Legendary Artifact Creature. Twelve colorless mana. Hydro-kinetic with super-speed. If any attack isn't sufficient to kill it in a single hit, the hit does no damage."
"What the hell do you mean it does no damage?" The teleporter said – even as an attack by Legend opened a bleeding wound in the creature causing ichor to spill out.
"The damage is superficial!" Tattletale shouted as something clicked into place. "It's fake! It's all a show!"
"I can tell you something else – whatever gave para-humans their powers is the same thing that created the Endbringers, though for what purpose I have no clue," Harry blurted as something suddenly clicked.
"What do you mean?" Tattletale demanded – knowing Dragon was listening in via their armbands.
"I can get a gist of who made what... para-human powers stem from a crystalline structure in your brains that perfectly matches the crystalline structure of Leviathan's whole body. Whoever gave you your powers also made that thing!" Harry shouted over the din of the torrential rains pouring down on the fighters outside.
"It's an experiment... a weapon's test?" Tattletale pondered as her shard processed the incoming information.
The Endbringer flicked its tail at them, sending a blade of water via its after-image at them. Their mystery teleporter just yelled "time to go!" before grabbing them and teleporting them a few blocks away. From where they landed, they could see the building they were in bisected and caving in on itself. Their teleporter then got a chirp from his own armband. "We need you to pull casualties out of the battlefield."
"I need time to think!" Harry yelled as he quickly ran inside another building – not caring that Tattletale was on his heels.
"So how do we kill the fucker?" she asked. Harry held up his hand and shook his head as he thought over his options – forcing himself to tune out the casualty reports.
"I can increase physical power three steps by layering Holy and Unholy Strength," he thought out loud. "Come on Harry, THINK! What other options do I have for increasing someone's power?"
"Are you sure brute-force is the right choice, because it sure as hell looks like it's not working," Tattletale suggested. "You said its body was crystalline. Crystals can be shattered."
Just from Harry's body language Tattletale could tell her comment inspired him.
"Brilliant!" Harry shouted with a grin at the villain "Let's go kill a monster."
An alarm from their armbands warned of an incoming tidal wave. The pair barely had time to dive behind the security counter before they were slammed into the wall by a deluge of water. Wiping his face clear, Harry was feeling battered and bruised and Tattletale wasn't looking any better.
"You okay?" he asked the villainess.
Receiving a nod in response, Harry teleported them to the battle site where they were immediately hammered by the falling rain. Many heroes and villains were down with Armsmaster still bobbing and weaving through Leviathan's attacks – mocking the monster about how he knew all of it's moves as he cut into it.
Of course Leviathan then changed it's attack pattern and slammed the hero through a wall before turning to start working it's way into the shelter it was attacking. Harry could see Taylor in her Dragonfly costume flying down to extract the wounded. Harry just gave her a nod even as he started to weave a red and colorless mana together. It was a strain – especially after burning himself from pulling in the wall of steel – but he grinned and bared through it.
"Shatter," Harry murmured though his voice was drowned out by the storm. A red pulse lanced out and struck the endbringer in the back – setting off a chain reaction as it slowly started breaking apart in a cascading light show of smaller and smaller fragments before dissolving completely.
Like flipping a switch the rain slowed to a stop and the incoming tidal wave petered out as their enemy perished.
"One down, two to go," Tattletale breathed out from where she stood next to Harry. "Hopefully you will be around for the next two."
Taylor chose that moment to land next to them, a little weak in the knees from both surviving a battle against an Endbringer but also witnessing the destruction of one.
"I don't think we've been introduced," Taylor said as she didn't like how close the villain was standing next to Harry – even if she didn't officially have a claim staked.
"Tattletale," she said – offering her hand to Taylor with a smug grin.
"Dragonfly," Taylor said – squeezing hard as she shook her hand. Rather than wince, Tattletale flat out smirked.
"I better go check on my team mates," Tattletale said, knowing that with the battle over the truce would only last as long as it took to clear the casualties. Tossing Taylor her wristband she just said "Make sure to turn that in for me, would you?"
"She knows who I am, doesn't she," Taylor asked Harry, her tone worried.
"Yeah, but I know who she is," he said as Legend and Armsmaster approached. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I evacuated a few capes who had gotten injured in the fighting. Amazingly getting hit with a tidal wave didn't hurt. You do good work."
"Your efforts in extracting casualties is appreciated, Miss?" Legend asked.
"Dragonfly," Taylor said – trying not to gush.
"And you must be Seeker," Armsmaster said as he studied Harry. "Not worried about keeping your identity a secret?"
"Not a hero, just a guy with a saving people thing," Harry said with a shrug. "Call me Harry. I only told the wristband to call me 'Seeker' because it wanted a code name."
"We appreciate your help either way. What did you do to Leviathan? And where did Tattletale go? We were hoping for a debriefing and see if the two of you would expand on your observations," Legend said. Both heroes noticed the way Harry looked like he was about to protest just how important his involvement was.
"I also want to extend an invitation to join the Wards program to you both," Armsmaster said.
"I wasn't planning on sticking around Earth Bet much longer. I might pop in and visit on occasion but other than that, I have a lot of universes to search to find my way back home," Harry said.
"I had already planned on trying to join up on Monday after my dad goes back to work," Taylor admitted. "Speaking of which, I'd better go make sure my dad's shelter made it through okay."
"Then let's get you two debriefed so you can get on your way," Legend said. "Thankfully the number of casualties was way lower this time around."
"Six deaths and twenty-three injured – only one of those in critical condition," Dragon's voice emanated from their armbands.
"Who'd we lose?" Taylor asked in shock – amazed that the death toll was so low.
"Manpower, Kaiser, Fenja, Penitent, Rasp, and Hazard," Dragon told them. "Chubster is in critical condition but was extracted to the evac zone by Dragonfly in sufficient time he should recover.
. o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o .
Harry had to admit that the debriefing hadn't been all that bad so far. The two PRT agents – named Johnson and Johnson (no relation) – had asked his perspective of what happened step-by-step of everything that happened, though their follow up questions about his origins and powers were wearing on his nerves.
"So just to recap, you aren't from Earth Bet, and until your arrival a week ago you'd never heard of para-humans. The version of Earth you are from has actual magic – including things like centaurs, unicorns and dragons," the older Johnson summarized.
Harry had a sneaking suspicion they were only humoring him as the younger Johnson continued. "Also, you are a now a being called a 'planeswalker' and can pretty much do anything you want as long as you have enough 'mana.' You draw this mana from the land, with different types of lands producing different 'colors' of mana."
"You can create a copy of anyone you've acquired the patterns for, which capes have 'acquired?'" Johnson the older asked. "Can you create a copy of someone?"
"I could if para-humans weren't considered 'Legendary,'" Harry said evenly. "Trying to have two Legendary beings in the same sphere leads to... explosive results. Not to mention I'm currently limited on how powerful the summons or spells I cast are. Creating that steel wall around the building where we had the pre-battle meeting felt like trying to lift something too big."
"What about that thing you used to kill Leviathan?" the younger agent asked.
"That only cost half what the wall cost, so it wouldn't have hurt that badly if I hadn't over-reached by creating the wall," Harry said tiredly.
"What about normal people, could you create a clone of me?" he pushed.
A pattern flickered through Harry's head. Clone – one blue three colorless.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he just said "Creating an exact copy of you would cost as much as that wall. If I had a white mana available I could use your pattern to create someone that had all of your skills and knowledge – but while their personality and appearance would be very similar to yours, it wouldn't be exact."
"If you don't mind sharing, which capes do you have patterns for?" the older of the two asked.
Harry mentally flipped through his 'library.' "Dragonfly, Tattletale, Bitch, Shadow Stalker, that battle-armor that Dragon was using, Weld, Parian, Narwhal, Panacea, Legend, and Armsmaster. Oh yeah, and Leviathan itself," Harry said – noticing the way the two agents tensed up.
"Is that ability passive or active?" Johnson the younger asked.
"Passive, but my attention has to be focused on them. Like earlier there were a bunch of capes in the meeting room, but once the meeting actually started I was too distracted listening to the guys on stage to pay any attention to those near me," Harry said. "But if someone came up to me and got my attention, I'd automatically learn their pattern."
Thankfully most patterns were either useless or so similar to other patterns they didn't count as unique. Such as the agents Johnson.
"So you have the ability to create endbringers?" Johnson the younger asked.
"If I have their pattern, sure. But the high mana cost means I can't do it without burning myself. I'd have to gradually work up to it – it's like building muscle," Harry said – happy for the knowledge he had even though he still didn't know where it came from.
"We'll follow up on that later. You also can... enchant things and people?" the older Johnson asked.
"Yes. Think of it as imbuing someone with a stable energy pattern," Harry explained. "In this case with two spells I can increase a person's strength and durability three steps. In the case of Dragonfly, it took her from normal human levels to just shy of being able to take on something like a T-Rex or a dragon by herself."
At that point a voice came from the speaker near the one-way mirror to Harry's right. "Would you be willing to use your abilities to enhance some other heroes so we might have a better chance of dealing with Endbringers on our own?"
"Gladly," Harry said happily. "I'll need to gather the appropriate colors of mana though. Which means I'll need to do some traveling."
"We'll arrange something. Your friend Dragonfly is signed up to join the Wards. If you are going to be staying with her, we can send someone by in the morning to pick you up," the voice said said again. "Agents Johnson and Johnson, I think we have more than enough from Mr. Potter."
. o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o .
Taylor's reunion with her dad was tear-filled and left Harry feeling awkward. Especially once Danny pulled him into the hug. Harry was glad they had some privacy in the hotel room the PRT had arranged. "Thank you for looking out for my baby, Harry."
"Can't... breath..." he protested playfully, which got Danny to release him.
"So how bad was the damage?" Harry asked – wanting to change the subject.
"Almost all of the power substations got badly flooded but emergency crews are hard at work trying to get them fixed. FEMA is mobilizing to help out the people who lost their houses – which includes us. At this point we're about where Florida is post-hurricane," Danny said.
"I'll go check where our house is supposed to be in the morning to see what can be recovered. Especially Harry's backpack," Danny said as he rubbed his tired face.
"I'll help," Harry said firmly.
"We'll help," Taylor insisted before heading into the bathroom to change into the clothes provided by the PRT. There was little more chatter before the three went to sleep.
. o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o .
One week Later...
Harry had to admit the Protectorate really wanted those boosts. They arranged (through the PRT) to take Harry to Florida to spend three days in the swamps gathering the necessary black mana and then three days in Nebraska gathering the white so he could hit the four volunteers with both holy and unholy strength. Of course Armsmaster wanted to run scans while he was doing so to see if they could replicate the ability.
Short answer – they couldn't even detect he was doing anything, yet it was clear when they ran tests on the heroes who volunteered – Alexandria, Aegis, Glory Girl, and Weld – their strength was greatly increased. When asked if this meant they could deal with Leviathan on their own, Harry admitted only Alexandria would be able to do so, but would probably die in the process. To that end, he also gave each of them spider-climb – which had the side effect of increasing how much damage they could tank – as well as reflexes. For Weld, since he was the only non-flier, he cast flight.
While Harry wasn't all that pleased to have been delayed for a week, he did net five each white and black mana sources, as well as the cities of Orlando and Omaha for colorless. He even snagged the patterns for the helicopters and planes provided to give him a ride as well as their pilots. Part of Harry was tempted to sneak into a military base to acquire the patterns for various tanks and fighter jets, but decided to put that off for a different version of Earth so as not to ruin the goodwill he'd built up.
And boy did he have a lot built up. Somehow, someone had managed to get footage of Harry killing Leviathan and uploaded it to the internet. Thankfully the camera was behind Harry so they didn't get his face. As it was both the Protectorate and the Wards – as well as the U.S. Government was all but begging him to stay.
Still, as eager as Harry was to get a move on he was also a bit saddened at having to say goodbye to Taylor and Danny. Making sure his backpack – which was safely found in the ruins of the Heberts' house – was securely strapped to his back, Harry found himself being tightly hugged by a teary-eyed Taylor.
"Make sure you come visit, okay?" Taylor insisted. She had been helping with search and rescue as well as clearing debris in the area around the residential neighborhoods as she hadn't had any training with crime fighting.
"I will," Harry promised. "I'll pop by every couple of months."
Danny stepped forward to shake Harry's hand. "I can't thank you enough for what you've done, Harry," the man said. "You'll always be welcome with us."
Harry found himself being patted, hugged, and shaking hands with several of the other heroes who'd come to see him off. Armsmaster gave Harry a curt nod, probably still sore over not being able to find a way to even detect Harry's magic.
Stepping back, Harry focused his will on the 'fabric' of reality and willed a tear big enough to leave before stepping through – the tear sealing itself automatically.
. o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o . o O o .
All over Earth Bet, several precogs sighed in relief as the anomaly causing mishaps with their powers vanished. The Simurgh herself immediately sent the wake-up call to the other Endbringers before communicating the change in plans. And in a hidden lair beneath Brockton Bay, a fail-safe triggered – unleashing Noelle from her holding cell.
But that's not a story that will be told here.
AN3: Okay, no excuses on this one. I got all the way to the end of the battle and my muse just decided to go on vacation. I tried and tried and tried to come up with something for after the battle that wouldn't bore everyone to tears, but I just couldn't bring myself to follow the advice of "Show, don't tell." I've only read Worm once and have had to rely on my faulty memory and the Wiki to fill in gaps.
I found Worm to be a novel idea but the fact that everything that CAN go wrong, does makes it emotionally draining to read. So why'd I pick Worm for Harry's first visit? I felt Taylor got the rawest deal to ever be dealt (seriously, her ending sucked and while it left a lot unsaid, she didn't deserve what the cannon did to her).
For all of those people thinking the Endbringer fight ended too quickly or Harry was too OP. Shatter is a two-mana spell that destroys target artifact. The Endbringers are constructs created by the Entities. And as we saw in cannon when Scion killed Behemoth, they aren't indestructible just really tough. In my mind, if they were actual cards in the game they'd have the following ability:
Reduce all damage from any single source to zero unless that damage is greater than this creature's toughness.
So not indestructible, but still Artifact Creatures. Thus, shatter.
FINAL AUTHOR'S NOTE:
Even though my muse went on vacation, she still fed me bits and bobs both for this fic's future arcs as well as ideas for other fics. My question for you lovely folks who have followed and favorited this story, which would you rather me do:
Post each chapter as they come, or wait until a story arc is completed before posting new chapters? PM me or let me know in a review which you'd prefer.