Death In The Dark
I hit the sea hard, sending cold water splashing up in all directions as I sank like a stone. Normally, I'd have been more than capable of simply allowing one plague or another to bloat me up and use my own flesh as a floatation device; now I instead decreased my buoyancy as much as possible and sank like a stone. I only realised as I was half way down and the light above me faded away completely that this was probably a fucking stupid idea; I have no idea where I am, no idea which direction Japan is, and I can't even fucking see my hand in front of my face. As my feet settled into the sands of the seafloor and I felt innumerable tiny carrion eaters crawling over me, I released a bubbling sigh formed of the many gasses produced within my lungs.
To be honest, the bottom of the ocean was about the last place I ever wanted to be. The ocean is a never ending war zone of different predators fighting and evolving over billions of years, and only the nastiest of the lot have survived to modern times. While my new Nurglite instincts were thrilled to see what kind of interesting and dreadful lifeforms I could find and potentially use down in this abyss, the part of me that looked upon a ocean sunset and only saw a writhing sea of monstrosities and terror was already preparing to release every plague that writhed within me on the barest hint of titanic monstrosities.
To hell with this world, if I see one fish bigger than my body I will poison the entire ocean until I am satisfied that no life exists within!
Grumbling irritably, I picked a random direction and began my long, slow march to shore.
Endeavor grit his teeth as he watched the villain escape into the ocean. Oh how he longed to chase after the cretin, to prove to the world that where All Might staggered back he leapt forward… but he knew his Quirk would be less than useless underwater, and following an unknown assailant into a confrontation on their terms was always folly. Instead, he set the infected gunboat this 'Erran' destroyed alight without so much as a glance its way. He was here to ensure not a scrap of whatever horrific plague this monster released made it back to shore, and he would do just that.
He rolled his shoulders as he prepared to board the main ship, the heavy weight of the absurdly complicated biohazard suit he was forced to wear stifling his movements but still allowing him to use his flames. He still wasn't sure how those freaks on I-Island managed to make the damn thing, but he had been assured over and over that it would keep out any pathogen; even so, he had more faith in the flames he coated himself in to protect him.
No one else came aboard, too afraid to risk what had happened to those idiot coast guards. Cowardly, but at least they wouldn't be getting in his way. His cold eyes swept across the ship, finding it in far worse condition than he had been led to believe possible; there wasn't a single board that didn't look so rotten a light breeze would make it fall apart, and all sorts of vile lifeforms writhed across every surface he cared to look at.
Including a single… girl holding her guts in with her hands and looking up at him with a mixture of fear and hope he had long since grown used to in his career. He wanted to burn her with the ship, disgusting monstrosity that she was, but he was under strict orders to take her in alive. He wasn't about to fail a mission just for his personal feelings.
Keeping his disgust from his face with practiced ease he addressed the slime dripping abomination, "Izuku Midoriya?" The creature nodded hesitantly, filth matted hair clinging to her vaguely human face. "You are to surrender yourself to full examination and a period of decontamination and quarantine. Will you comply?" He really hoped she wouldn't, it would give him the excuse he needed to purge the world of such a vile creature.
He was almost certain she was about to resist when she rose to her feet without responding, but instead she simply looked out at the small fleet of ships sent to capture Erran. He was surprised and displeased to note that she absolutely towered over him, easily over three feet taller than himself even without the massive horns jutting from her scalp. He gave her a moment to respond, the flames around him burning hotter as he prepared to attack before he let them fall as she finally spoke, "Y-" She coughed, spitting out a wad of phlegm that corroded straight through the already rotten floorboards, "Yes, I will come quietly." Her voice was smoother than he expected, almost sounding perfectly human if not for the undertones of gurgling mucus.
He would never admit his disappointment lest it ruin his reputation, "Very well, step onto the boat and enter the mobile isolation unit." He watched her walk, idly restraining himself from itching his neck as he noticed the boat begin to corrode beneath her. She didn't seem to notice as the small gunship rotted around her, ducking low to enter the glass cube provided without complaint. He could already see the once pristine glass beginning to yellow and sag around her, grime building up in the corners as she seemed to outright radiate filth and decay. Somehow, even though he was sure she had entered alone, a swarm of flies buzzed around her within the iso-unit.
He shook his head, and turned back to his work. Hopefully the joy of legally burning All Might's property to ash would keep his mind off the threat of his ship rotting out from under him before they made it back to shore. Before he actually set about burning everything, he activated his comm, "Selkie, you are clear to begin searching for the criminal."
Izuku watched her Master's work burn, feeling her ire for Endeavor grow. He had the gall to think a mere biohazard suit would protect him from the blessed pestilence of Lord Erran? He would pay for his impudence, the burning he will feel will make his greatest flames wither in shame. She could already feel the demonic sickness she crafted for him sinking in, unbothered by his flames and slipping right through the plastics of his suit; by the way he kept unconsciously scratching at himself, he would soon feel it too. It would take awhile for any true symptoms to show and she had been very careful to ensure a standard health test wouldn't be able to detect what she had done to the heretic; well, unless someone was willing to pluck out a piece of his brain and see what was wrong with it anyway. By the time he thought to check what was wrong, it would be far too late for him.
She could feel her Lord's approval at her plan, could almost hear him praising her skill at plague alchemy. His approval sent a shudder of pleasure down her spine, though she didn't truly think she deserved it; all she had done was splice a few of the pathogens within her into one, nothing truly special. Even so, the phantasmal feeling of her Master patting her head made her want to wiggle her hips in glee.
She refrained however, not wanting the apostates around her to see any sign of her true allegiance.
She watched the mortals go about their business, idly imagining rewarding their dedication to protecting mankind with some choice diseases while attempting to reign in her entropic radiance as her Master implied she should. While she wasn't sure she was even capable of getting bored anymore, she found herself frequently speculating on the Quirks of the fools investigating her Lord; though, she found her mind straying more often to the misery and terror the Quirks she saw could inflict rather than how they could help people since she ascended…
Her idle musings were cut off when she saw something strange; one of the heroes (who she recognised as the Ocean Rescue Hero: Selkie) had leapt into the sea. A frown spread across her face at the sight and the flies around her buzzed angrily, "Master, a hero has entered the water; I think they're trying to capture you!"
"...I think they're trying to capture you!"
My frown deepened as Izuku's words entered my mind, my eyes uselessly casting around the pitch darkness around me. "Any idea who they are and what sort of abilities they have? Is it just the one or a group?" If I had managed to keep her mind as intact as I thought I did, I'd be surprised if she didn't recognise a given hero.
Her voice in my head held the same nerdy enthusiasm she had as a mortal, "Selkie; he swims fast, can hold his breath for a long time, and has some degree of echolocation. He's alone, and I don't think he actually knows where you are; I'd say a confrontation with you would leave his cold corpse for the crabs, but his home field advantage may prove troublesome. Your best bet would be to cripple his hearing to effectively blind him and see if you can immobilize him somehow; he may have strong lungs, but he can't hold his breath forever. Still, be careful Master, he could surprise you!" I noticed she seemed a bit more dismissive and cruel in her descriptions than she ever was in canon, but I suppose being a literal incarnation of futility could change your perspective on some things. Still, even encouraging me to murder heroes, her earnest desire to help was endearing.
Even with the approaching danger, I couldn't help but smirk viciously as I tightened my grip on Acceptance. I was no Khornate, but after spending so long playing the goody two shoes in that damn boat, I was more than a touch eager to spill some blood. And really, you're gonna chase me into the dark alone like this? Bring it on fucker, let's see you dance with death.
Of course, given I didn't know where the fuck I was, someone looking for me was equally as absolutely lost as I was. I had been walking in a random direction for at least twenty minutes before Izuku warned me someone was coming, and the odds of someone randomly picking the same direction or somehow tracking me through the sea were probably pretty low. It also occurred to me that this guy probably didn't expect to find me alive; not only did they send a rescue hero, they have no reason to believe I can hold my breath indefinitely. It was easy to assume a hostile pursuit as Izuku and I had, but-
My thoughts cut out when a clicking met my ears, the sound sharp, distant, and very clearly organic. I turned my head, peering uselessly into the dark with a frown. That click could be a coincidence, but I'd have to operate on the assumption I was made; worse, he could see me, but I can't see him. I needed a way to deal with that, and fast.
My initial thought was to draw on the various carrion eaters littering the sea floor, but I couldn't actually use their senses like that. My second attempt was far more successful; I released a waterborne pathogen into the surrounding water, and simply sensed where it was around me. If I detect anything being infected or even simply disturbing the microbes, then I can get an idea of where they are.
Barely twenty seconds passed before I felt something large disturbing the water behind me. I whirled, Acceptance carving a line of boiling water around me even as the crushing weight of the sea slowed me down. My massive powerscythe carved flesh like butter, leaving my assailant to float past me in two quickly rotting pieces.
Rotting pieces that a glance with my powers told me were distinctly not human about half a second before something impacted the back of my head with enough force to slam me face first into the ground, sending a plume of sand up around me. I growled, noxious gas bubbling out between my teeth as I threw myself up and to the left to avoid a follow up strike. Acceptance flashed through the briny depths, the sickly green light spilling from its blade giving me a glimpse of my attacker as they pirouetted over the deadly blade; a humanoid seal man, almost certainly Selkie unless this world had gone even more insane than expected.
I was slightly surprised he was actually willing to engage with a threat like me, but I supposed it wasn't impossible he simply didn't know the danger he was in. That, or he overestimated his advantage here and thought I couldn't detect him.
I kept my head on a swivel, pretending I couldn't sense him swimming around behind me from the trail of disturbed microbes he left in his wake and the distinct feeling of my own pestilent blood clinging to one of his boots. The moment he moved to strike, I threw myself to the side and left Acceptance trailing behind me to intercept the rescue hero. Selkie dodged the glowing blade easily, but the cloud of disease it left in the water was much harder to avoid.
I could feel the germs seeping into him, passing through his exposed skin and entering his flesh even as he darted through the water to slam a massive fist into my face. Even as I felt my jaw dislocate as he carried the punch through and slammed me into the ground once again, I couldn't help but laugh. Didn't anyone ever tell you, hero? You should never punch a Nurglite.
Before he even pulled back, necrosis began climbing his fingers and left a trail of black slime as he pulled away. I could feel his panic as his flesh went black and runny, agony shooting up his limb as his nerves rotted. A full second of contact was more than long enough for multiple diseases to take hold and my own entropic power to bring rot all on it's own.
He began thrashing in the water, desperately denying that that black sludge wasn't just on his skin but was his skin even as the rot seeped into his bones. I could feel the moment his desperation turned to despair, as the tainted water around him began to blister his skin and his tears overflowed his mask. I trudged towards him at an unhurried pace, knowing he had no will to fight left in him. I could almost taste his thoughts as I cracked my jaw back into place; his tearful apologies to the family and friends he would never see again, his regret at ever having come here…
Acceptance passed beneath his chin, leaving his head to drift away in a slowly spreading cloud of feculent blood. His body would never be recovered, his fate officially unknown.
I turned my back on the first hero I killed, a smile on my lips as I hummed a cheerful tune. It would take me weeks to march my way to shore, with only Izuku's voice in my thoughts and innumerable bottom feeders to keep me company.
Even having confirmed she was no longer capable of boredom, Izuku had long since grown irritated with being stuck in a glass box. At first, she had expressed this irritation by making the isolation vault they stuck her in corrode even faster, but her Master's chiding had reminded her that she was here to prove she wasn't a danger to society. The embarrassment had driven her to really focus on reigning in her new nature.
It had taken a while to stop passively rotting everything around her, and even longer to keep her poxes to herself, but eventually she managed it. It was amusing watching the mortals scrabble to repair her ever rotting prison, seeing them grow ever more desperate to keep some of her gifts from spreading. Still, once she finally managed to get her new powers under control, All Might was given clearance to visit her in person rather than just over the phone.
It had… hurt, to see him cringe back from her new form. Seeing the carefully hidden disgust in her idol's eyes had almost been worse than her enlightenment, but he'd warmed back up to her after a while. He tried to bring in the Naomasa her Master had warned her about, but the man tragically succumbed to lung cancer during their first meeting.
It was awfully convenient of him to already be sick before coming to meet her, certainly saved her the trouble of releasing a virus.
All Might had been very sad when his friend died in his arms and that had kinda made her feel bad, but her Master consoled her. He spent a lot of his time talking to her; apparently, the bottom of the ocean was not a very fun place. It was very nice to have someone who didn't get mad at her for going off on tangents or extrapolating wildly, and being told she wasn't worthless felt really nice. Even her own mother had never gotten so angry on her behalf as when she told him about Kacchan (that section of the ocean would likely never recover), though she still wasn't convinced she was worth getting so upset over; she was just a useless Deku after all…
He had gotten very quiet when she told him that, though she could feel his rage like an earthborn star on the horizon. "You are mine, and that makes you important," he had whispered into her mind. She had never been important before, it felt… nice.
It took All Might a few weeks to come back after his friend died, but eventually he did. He sat down on a provided chair outside her cell, picking up the phone that let people communicate with her without screaming to be heard through the glass; apparently, they thought it would protect them from any airborne diseases, though she could think of more than a few memetic illnesses she could have whispered into their minds if she wanted to. "Young Midoriya, how are you feeling?" His voice radiated confidence and concern, even if she could detect the barest hint of grief in it.
"I'm doing alright, a little bored maybe." A lie, she wasn't capable of becoming bored anymore.
He simply nodded, "I hear you still want to be a hero even after your… accident. That's very laudable! Just the kind of spirit that made me…" He trailed off, glancing at one of the nearby cameras as if he had forgotten he was being observed. "Well, what made me think you had what it takes to begin with." He took a deep breath, placing a hand over the receiver and simply looking her over for a moment before he continued speaking, "Well, the doctors don't think their have been any serious mental effects, aside for a newfound macabre sense of humour that they deemed a coping mechanism, and the virologists no longer think you present an uncontrollable threat to those around you. I've been cleared to inform you that you will be released this thursday, provided you are willing to wear a custom biohazard suit when in public. I would also personally like to inform you that my offer has not been retracted, if you are still willing to try after all you've experienced."
She felt tears rise to her eye unbidden, "YES! I… I still wanna be a hero!" She wasn't even lying, though she would always place her Lord first, she still wanted to be the hero that could save everyone, just like All Might. Though, her definition of "save" may have been slightly altered lately… Regardless, her dream was still there.
The fact it would also be fulfilling her Master's wishes just made it even better.
All Might gave her a broad smile, one she had seen a thousand times on TV. "Very good, I look forward to seeing you when you get out! I warn you, with all the time you've missed here you'll need to try extra hard to make the deadline," His grin took on a slightly wry edge, "Plus Ultra, you might say."
Her grin split her face, though by the look on All Might's face he didn't appreciate how literal that was. She wiped the festering blood from her mouth, trying to hide her embarrassment behind her hands.
I could finally see light in the distance, city lights filtering and through dirty water to splay across my skin. It was late at night by the time my head breached the surface, allowing me to take my first breath of oxygen in what must have been at least a month.
I shook like a dog, shaking seaweed and innumerable little parasites off of me before I exited the drink completely; sea lice, leeches, and some isopods may be decent company beneath the waves, but I couldn't bring them with me lest they dry out. My clothes were washed out and torn apart, resembling nothing more than waterlogged rags; not that they were ever particularly nice clothes to begin with.
Ignoring my poor state of dress, I set my sights on the nearby city, looking for any sign of where I actually was. Unfortunately, whatever part of fantasy future Japan I wound up in wasn't anywhere I recognised from the show or manga; not that that necessarily meant I wasn't in a canon relevant location, but given the signs showed an unfamiliar name (and made me realize I could apparently read japanese now) I wasn't going to bet on it.
Shaking sand out of my hair, I shrugged my shoulders and walked into the city; at least it's still Japan, I'd be shit out of luck if I wound up in a country that wasn't ever relevant to canon. Besides, I'm sure there'll be somewhere I can steal some clothes and set up a little garden. It would have been nice to wind up in a city with the League or somebody I could parasite off of, but I can make do for now.
Besides, I'm sure if I cause enough problems, the League will come to me. If I drop enough bodies, I'm bound to get All For One's attention just like Stain did; Shigaraki may be a dribbling idiot, but I'm sure his master will see the value in having a reliable source of bioweapons on hand. Overhaul is also a possibility, but something tells me we wouldn't get along very well…
The first obstruction I came across upon trying to actually enter the city was a rusty chain link fence. Given the thing was barely six feet tall and didn't even have barbed wire on the top, I had to question why they even bothered putting in such a half-assed effort to block off this section of beach. A tap of my finger heightened the corrosion already eating away at it and reduced the pathetic blockade to dust in seconds; I could (and perhaps should) have simply jumped over it, but I didn't feel like putting in that much effort when the people who built the shoddy thing clearly didn't.
The second thing to bar my path was a twitching idiot pumped to the literal gills in drugs and gang tats pointing a knife at me. His wild, bloodshot eyes twitched as he shouted at me, spraying spittle in my face. "What the hell are you doing in Black Skulls territory, you scum sucking freak!?" I'd have expected this kinda shit from Worm, but apparently some things are universal.
I wiped the spit from my face, my expression carefully blank. "Did you know you have hepatitis C? It's one of many reasons sharing needles is not recommended," my voice was calm and my eyes cold as the pissant before me suddenly cried out in pain and grabbed at his side. I tilted my head, watching him sink to his knees as snot and tears flowed down his face. "And that would be complete liver failure setting in." I wiped my hand off in his hair, "But don't worry, that won't be what kills you."
I squatted down in front of him, pulling his short knife from his limp fingers. As I turned the blade over in my hands, watching rot sink into the handle and rust spread along the edge, I addressed the pitifully weeping man, "Can you feel the corruption seeping into your tissue? The rot slinking through your veins? You didn't have that before you met me, so consider it a gift." I spread my hands out, "Normally, I'd just let the… my blessings run their course through you, but something you said intrigues me."
With a flick of my wrist I carved a shallow line across his face, the meat turning yellow and swelling up around the wound. The cretin cried out, falling over himself onto the cold cement ground. "These… Black Skulls did you say? Black Skulls… I presume they're a gang of some description?"
After a few moments of wordless sobbing, during which the veins around the cut in his face became more and more visible and pus began to leak from the wound, I grew impatient. With a snap of my fingers, his pain disappeared. "I can take your pain away, if you but answer me…" A look of wonder spread across his face, likely having never experienced a life without even the minor aches and pains of existence; of course, being the ungrateful sort, he immediately took this opportunity to lunge at me. I allowed him to get close, to almost wrap his fingers around my neck, before I blew a wisp of putrid gas into his face and allowed him to feel pain once again. He cried out, shaking fingers clutching his face as his eyeballs rotted in their sockets. Yellowish goo leaked between his fingers as he writhed on the ground, "...I can also make it much worse, if you don't."
"P-please! I'll do anything, just make the pain sto-haaahaha-oooop!" By this point, the flesh on his face had nearly entirely sloughed off and the corrosion was spreading to his hands and throat. He blubbered like a child, his blackened hands extended out pleadingly as yellow tears flowed from his empty eye sockets. I spat into one of his melted eyes, watching maggots begin to feast on his decaying flesh as flies heeded their master's call.
I was tempted to just leave him to enjoy Nurgle's gifts, but I did need the information if I wanted to make a big splash in this city. Sure, I could just massacre some civilians and maybe a police station or two… and I probably will honestly, but wiping out or taking over an established gang would send a message all its own. "Very well, tell me of this gang you work for and I'll free you of this pain."
His voice came in breathless gurgles as his lungs filled with fluids and sores tore up his throat, but he managed to get the details across anyway. The Black Skulls were a relatively minor local gang that made their money pushing drugs and kidnapping women and boys for prostitution. They got their name from their founder and current boss, who had the strange mutation of appearing like a blackened skeleton despite being entirely alive. From what little this peon knew, his boss had a Quirk that allowed him to craft objects out of his extendable ribs, most infamously the skull helmets that gave his lieutenants a distinctive look.
I rubbed my chin in thought as the sack of pus and necrotic tissue wept at my feet; there was an opportunity here, not just to wipe out this gang and make a name for myself, but perhaps to even take them over…
I looked down at the gangbanger, looking straight into the maggot ridden holes in his face. "I have another task for you." I knelt down, stroking his putrefying face as I took away his pain, "Go to your boss, and tell him the Plague Father is coming. Tell him ruin has come for him, that rot will take all he has made. Tell him death has come to reap what he has sown, tell him all hope is gone. Tell him he may either give his soul to me, or I will take it." I patted him on the head, feeling his scalp come apart beneath my fingers as his hair fell out in fleshy clumps.
He nodded up at me, his brain too rotten and relieved to resist any further. He slowly rose to his feet, his swollen legs barely able to keep him standing even with my will loosely holding him together. As I watched him stumble away, leaving a trail of pus and filth behind him, a thought entered my mind.
This world has no connection to the Chaos Gods, no higher authority in the Warp than myself… could I not take the throne for myself? Do as Ahriman has been trying for millenia and establish myself as the god of decay? I'm not nearly powerful enough at present to claim divinity, but with no existing gods here and no one else with seemingly any idea of the Warp… if I set up a cult with myself as Nurgle, it wouldn't be impossible for me to wind up a god somewhere down the line.
But do I want that? It would be easier to simply establish Nurgle here and spread his love to everyone… but that little piece of me that always gave Tzeentch a second glance knows I could never just abandon an opportunity like this; I could never forgive myself if I gave up a chance for absolute power like this.
I followed loosely behind my new slave, keeping my distance as ambition swirled in my thoughts.