My putrescent servant stumbled blindly through the streets, though he apparently knew his way back to his base well enough that the limited senses he had were good enough. He led me through a long series of back streets, muttering to himself as he left more and more small body parts behind. Perhaps I would see about giving him back his eyes if he proves himself worthy.
Eventually, he made his way to a large warehouse located roughly in the center of a run down factory district so coated in graffiti and rubbish it wouldn't look out of place in post apocalypse. I felt at home amongst the skittering insects and rotting walls, the urban decay bringing a faint smile to my face as my slave beat out some sort of code against the large and rusted door.
An actually rather cleverly hidden slot opened at eye level on the door and a horrified scream pierced the air a second before it was slammed back shut. Apparently, they didn't appreciate the blessings I had given my newest servant, a pity.
I calmly walked to the side of the building, keeping an eye on my enslaved gangbanger as I hid around a corner. With my ear pressed to the thin sheet metal wall I could hear the sound of frantic arguing inside the building while my servant repeatedly tapped that same code into the door, a patient smile on his rotten face. After a few moments of increasingly frantic shouting, the eye slit slid open once more, a short black tube was extended from it, and a gunshot rang out. The back of my slave's head exploded outwards in a plume of rotten blood, necrosed flesh, and insect eggs.
He swayed on his feet for a moment before continuing to knock on the door at a slower pace. It seems enough of his putrid brain was left for my power to keep him something approximating alive; it's not like I really needed him thinking all that much, I suppose. Then several more shots blasted his head to pieces and he finally collapsed like a puppet with his strings cut, folding over himself and splattering on the ground into a feculent pile of rot and maggots.
Well, so much for giving him back his eyes. Oh well, I didn't like him much anyways.
I smiled, pressing a hand to the rusting wall I was lurking behind and inducing decay much as I had before to that fence. The moment a hole opened in the wall and my smiling face greeted the gangsters inside, a hail of bullets impacted my chest. My smile widened as trickles of diseased slime flowed from the small holes in my torso for a few scant seconds before cancerous flesh pushed out the tiny bullets and my wounds sealed over. I could have bloated myself up with pustules and cancers to be more durable, but considering all they seemed to have were cute little twenty twos, I didn't even bother; you'll need a lot more firepower than that to make a Nurglite Champion pause.
I laughed, letting my cheerful malignance slither into the minds of the thugs arrayed before me. Some continued firing long after their pistols clicked dry, their fear and panic overriding what little competence they may have had. One of them even had the gall to actually charge at me with a crowbar, a wordless roar of anger on his lips. His drug-addled bravery earned him a quick swipe from Acceptance across the waist, his two halves falling away from each other in a spreading pool of blood and organs.
I placed my foot on the man's still screaming upper half, chuckling merrily as rot festered in his massive wound and maggots began writhing in his exposed intestines. It was a simple matter to stop his bleeding, letting necrosed and swollen flesh seal his opened veins just enough to keep him alive for now. It wouldn't do to kill too many of my soon to be servants before I enlighten them, but I wasn't about to let his attack go unpunished.
I smiled at the small gang arrayed before me, finding less than fifty men and women arrayed throughout the room and only twelve of them with the black skull masks that were apparently a signature of this group as I left the bloated and pus leaking -but still very much alive and weeping- body of their comrade behind. The important amongst them were sitting at a much nicer looking table (real wood as compared to the fold out metal and plastic the mooks had) placed on a second story made of steel grating. I could see fear on every exposed face, though many tried to hide it to varying degrees of success; the only one to not be visibly sweating was who I presumed to be the leader, a tall black skeleton with oddly thick bones.
Given I could sense their terror, I guessed they weren't expressing it purely because they weren't physically able to.
After letting the silence carry on until just when their boss opened his mouth, I spoke, "Well now, it was rather rude of you to shoot my messenger before he could even deliver his message. Don't you want to hear what he had to say?" My grin grew as I flexed my newfound psychic might, causing fresh food to rot on the plate, drinks to curdle, flies to buzz in from nowhere, and the numerous minor illnesses in the people arrayed before me to suddenly spike up. Vomit and snot flowed like rivers from anyone with even the slightest hint of sickness within them, eyes filled with tears as hardened thugs clutched at their stomachs and writhed on the ground.
The boss showed remarkable aplomb in the face of this onslaught, calmly pulling a small black pistol from their jacket and promptly putting a bullet in the eye of the lieutenant that puked on their shirt. My laughter spiked as the black masked fool dropped face first into their plate, scattering blood and rotten food across the table. Black Skull themselves simply took off their shirt (revealing that they really were just a skeleton, if with interconnected bones that each seemed to be much thicker than would fit in a human body of their rough size), and tossed it vomit first onto their dead subordinate's head.
I stared intently at them as they rose from their seat, trying to see if I could get the same insight on them I got on my blade or if that was something unique to Acceptance. After a moment of intense eyeballing, it came to me.
Harek Skullsinger, the boss of a small-time gang pushing drugs, prostitutes, and guns. She knows she can't compete with the likes of the Shei Haissaikai but has nowhere else to turn, never having known another life. She ran away from home at fifteen after her father took a beating too far and killed her mother before hanging himself in the attic; she still blames herself for this, convinced it was her disturbing appearance that drove him to drink so much. She is correct; her father hated her and blamed her strange form on her mother, who was also a mutant. It didn't take long for her to fall into crime, starting with minor theivery and escalating rapidly to murder before a gangbanger took pity on her and recruited her. When that gang splintered after the leader's death, she managed to hammer together enough splinters to create her own gang and take over the largest slice of their former territory. Despite appearing as a skeleton, her organs are held within her enlarged bones and are all fully functional. Her Quirk allows her to extend her ribs and form them into any shape she desires, including functioning pistols provided she can get her hands on gunpowder externally. This has made smuggling guns into the city much easier, but given the danger of such business, she keeps a tight lid on such activities.
I couldn't prevent myself from blinking at the flood of information. That was… a lot more than I expected. Well, I hadn't really expected anything but even my more wild hopes had not anticipated a biography that detailed or explicit. A lot of that information was useless to me; I'm sure I could leverage her past trauma if I needed to, but it seems less likely to get the results I want than a simple show of force and business pitch. I was mildly surprised to see the leader of the Black Skulls was apparently female after my pawn had referred to them as a "he" but given they had no outward signs of gender, I suppose someone as low in the ranks as them may simply not have known.
I cast my gaze around the room, making a show of meeting everyone's eyes as I did. Most of them were little better than common rabble, though with Quirks being what they are it can be hard to tell who is and isn't a threat; for every obvious mutant, there's a hundred Dabis and Shigarakis with dangerous but not visible powers. While I didn't care enough about the average mooks to read their life story, I figured anyone at the leader's table was worthy of a scan. Picking the living one closest to Harek, I focused on them in the same way I had before.
Sam Hartford. Can cause numbness in anyone he touches that spreads from the point of contact over time. Hates fish.
That… was significantly less information. I have no evidence, but something tells me Tzeentch is to blame for this. I was going to scan a few more at the head table, but Harek actually speaking forced me to pay attention to what I was actually here to do. I'd have to experiment more later.
She cleared her throat, the fleshy sound making it clear she did have actual meat inside her. "And what, exactly, was that… creature's message?" She questioned, keeping any fear from her voice.
My smile widened at her question, "Oh nothing much, your former subordinate was simply going to sing you a song of your inevitable doom…" I could see anger and fear spike in the eyes of everyone in the room as I let that statement hang for just a moment, "...and give you a way to avoid it."
I could see her bony fingers clenching in rage as she slammed her hands on the table, "You come into my warehouse, kill my subordinates, and you have the fucking gall to threaten me?!" She took a deep breath, leaning back and staring at me for a moment. Her luminous yellow eyes shining out from dark sockets to lock with mine as she crossed her arms over her chest, "You've got balls for sure, I'll enjoy carving them off of you for this insult."
I couldn't help it, I burst out into howling laughter. My wild cachinnations were so loud and forceful I'm sure I would have been seeing stars and my vision going black around the edges if I still needed to breathe. I doubled over, clutching my belly as I slowly calmed my incessant laughter, "Woooooo, hahahaha ho ho hooo, haaaaaa… That… that was funny," I patted my belly as I stood up fully, "Like watching a kitten roaring at a lion and thinking it's scary."
She snarled like a wild animal, the sound something between a tractor engine dying and a mountain lion, as she threw her table aside in a somewhat impressive display of strength. The table hadn't even hit the ground before her ribs were darting forward and splitting into numerous blades of all shapes and sizes. I leapt to the side, throwing one of her subordinates into the path of the blades as I passed. He barely had a moment to scream in fear before being skewered a dozen times over and torn to shreds. So it would seem she doesn't have the control to stop her blades mid-flight, or simply doesn't care about her allies enough to bother.
I swiped at her pursuing ribs with Acceptance, seeing the blade pass through the tentacles without effort and leave the ends around them rapidly rotting. She shrieked, tentacles flailing as the blood jetting from her extended ribs rapidly turned from red to a sickly, rotten brown as sickness visibly spread up the wounded limbs. She severed the extended ribs with a swipe of her hand, allowing them to rot away on their own. I frowned at the sight, "You don't have to keep struggling. If you join me, give your soul to me, I will free you from all pain and suffering." She grunted, her newly grown ribs shooting out to impale me her only real answer.
I sighed as I leaned out of the way, I really did want to recruit her; not only is her Quirk useful and I want to know what fucking a living skeleton would feel like, but she obviously knows the day to day operations required of a gang far better than I do. Having her there to step in as my assistant would make taking over far smoother and free me to tinker with my biomagic while she handles the tedious shit. And I want to fuck a weird skellygirl, musn't forget that part.
Trying for a minimal dodge was proven to be a poor decision when the spikes of black bone I dodged by inches suddenly exploded in my direction, a veritable forest of spikes shooting out and piercing my flesh all over. I could feel them twisting about into new and viscous shapes within me, preparing to absolutely shred my organs even as Acceptance swiped through them and cut off her control.
And with that, I was done playing around; while the wounds didn't actually hurt, it did make me feel weak. I could tell that if I had been a moment too slow, she would have pureed my organs and I very well might have died; I may be durable, but something tells me I'm not quite at "shrug off losing all of my organs" level quite yet. With a flex of my mental power, I called out to my new servants to end this farce.
The atmosphere changed the moment the tears in reality started forming, the cheerful laughter of my Plaguebringers crushing what little hope the fodder around me may have felt. The very first of them appeared directly behind Harek, driving his blade through her back before he had even finished emerging from the Warp. The rest swarmed into the room, plagueswords and stolen guns in hand as they secured the rest of the gangsters.
Harek barely even had time to scream before foam and vomit clogged her throat. She slid off my servant's jagged blade, collapsing bonelessly to the ground before a seizure overtook her. The rest of the gang watched in horror from their place on their knees, watching their boss writhe on the floor like a dying fish as rusting gun barrels swept over them.
I hummed, pulling the spikes from my torso as I walked up the short stairway to the important people's balcony. Each spike was shaped differently inside and each came loose with a wet sucking sound as they tore more of my flesh, splattering my fetid blood across the room to corrode the ground as they came free. I let most of them fall as soon as I had them out, but kept one in my hand as I stood over the agonized form of the former leader of the Blackskulls.
I chucked the multipronged spike up and down, tossing it from hand to hand for a long moment as I simply watched the innumerable sicknesses flow through her. I wasn't concerned about her lieutenants as I knelt down beside their boss, I could sense their terror as two of my Plaguebringers happily pointed formerly mounted machine guns at them. With a smile on my face I drove the spike in my hand through the grating right next to her head, my unnatural strength such that I embedded it down to my fist in the rusty metal. "I came here with two potential objectives in mind, my dear."
I stood, letting the statement hang as I jauntily walked to look over my captive audience; they were weaklings and cowards to a one, those not strong or brave enough to strike out on their own as villains but unwilling or unable to find legitimate employment for one reason or another. I waved a hand out, gesturing to the mooks below, "Those objectives were quite simple; to either take over, or wipe out this gang. When I first walked in here, I wasn't sure which I would choose, but now..." I could feel their fear rising at that, even seeing many of the less hardened members begin openly weeping in fear and despair. I took a deep breath, enjoying the bouquet of misery and terror in the air.
I whirled around theatrically to point at the mostly insensate form of the gangleader, "You being so clearly unwilling to work with me was disappointing, but it did help solidify my decision." I walked away from the railing, all but sauntering over to the dying wannabe kingpin. I could feel the tension in the warehouse rising, those well enough to stand strongly considering trying to fight or flee even with multiple diseased guns pointed at them; I supposed now was a good time to put their fears to rest. "While that attack was rather rude, it was also quite impressive! You are a mighty dangerous fighter with a useful skill set, I think I can find a use for you." I glanced over the rest of the room even as I took away her pain, "and I suppose I can keep the rest… so long as you all swear your souls to me."
One of the thugs, a man with deep frown lines and unkempt hair, leapt to his feet with a snarl, his rage apparently overcoming his fear. He drew a small and hidden pistol from his jacket with a growl, "If you think we're gonna work for a punkass motherfuc-" He was cut off mid sentence by a stream of yellow-green vomit pouring forth from one of my plaguebringers slamming into his face like a rancid firehose. The fetid fluid covered his skin and even flooded his open mouth, boils and sores opening up across his skin as his hair fell out in clumps. He fell to his knees, vomiting uncontrollably as his blackened fingertips began scratching desperately at his yellowing skin; his futile attempts to remove the vile liquid from himself only managed to tear thin strips of yellowed flesh free in sprays of pus and infected blood.
He continued to vomit long after his stomach was emptied, bile and rotten food soon turning to blood and liquifacted flesh. From between his chapped lips poured a stream of rotten blood as he gripped his stomach with one hand and the floor with the other, choked sobs occasionally breaking the stream of rotten, greenish blood and bile. His gums turned black as his teeth yellowed, the curdled fluids streaming between them corroding them right alongside the flesh of his throat and mouth until one by one they fell from his now permanently slack jaw in a torrent of rot. He barely managed to turn to look up at me with half melted but fully terrified eyes in a brief moment of reprieve as his stomach swelled up, before one last hurl overcame him and he began to expel his very organs into piles of rotting meat on the concrete before him.
Silence filled the room as the idiot collapsed, his body giving one last shiver as life finally left his already rotten carcass. I smirked, turning to face the horror struck and sickened crowd of mooks. "It seems your compatriot didn't quite understand the situation that you're all in," I waved a hand idly as I spoke, testing my postcognition on what were soon to be my thugs and getting disturbingly random amounts of information. "I will get all of your souls, whether you give them to me willingly or I take them with your lives." Grin firmly in place, I shrugged my shoulders. "It makes little difference to me; if you'd prefer to die here and now, my servants will be happy to oblige you."
The genuinely happy chuckles of said servants served to punctuate my words, sending shudders down more than a few of their spines. I turned away as they began begging for their lives and swearing loyalty in their terror, "I'll be formally taking oaths once I get the altar set up, hold your whimpering until then." With a thought, my daemons began shepherding the lesser thugs into one large group in the center of the warehouse, taking their weapons away as they did.
My footsteps tapping against the rusted grating drew the semi-lucid gaze of their leader as she lay on the ground, her head lazily turning to look up at me as she held her hands over the gaping and visibly infected wound in what passed for her chest. The daemonic blade had sliced into her enlarged spine, tearing through and infecting whatever organs lay within; based on the way I could hear air whistling through the ragged wound with every gurgling breath she managed, I assume it had at the very least damaged one of her lungs.
Once more I squatted down next to her, "I can save you, my dear. I can keep away all pain, free you from the sickness writhing within you, and give you the strength to survive this terrible injury. All I ask in exchange…" I smiled softly, "...is everything; your mind, your body, your soul, all of these I demand in return." I held out my hand to her, a gentle expression on my face.
Slowly, she extended a weak and shaking arm to take my hand. "H-help me… I-I don't… don't wanna die like this…" Her hand was cold in mine, her grip weak; even still, her feeble plea was enough.
I nodded, "I know you don't my dear, nobody does." I could feel her soul connecting to me, a trickle of power flowing through the connection as she gave herself over to me. I used this new connection as my instincts told me, pushing power into her and watching in satisfaction as the wound in her chest slowly began to close. I noted the new bone growing over the wound had a faint green tinge as I patted her on the head. Her… exoskeleton I guess? Her exoskeleton was smooth and hard beneath my fingers, but still oddly pleasant to the touch; it was vaguely reminiscent of holding smooth glass underwater, but less slippery.
As her breathing steadied out and her heartbeat slowed to a more reasonable pace, I helped her to her feet. She was a little unsteady, requiring me to keep a hand on her shoulder for a moment before she could stand on her own. As soon as she regained her composure, she was visibly marveling at the lack of pain in her chest. Even as that greenish tinge spread outwards from the point of contact and innumerable diseases made their homes in her organs, I could sense that she felt better than she had in a long time; it's funny how much of an impact even just removing the everyday aches and pains of life can have, and how few people really notice them until they're gone.
+50 Affection with Harek Skullsinger for sparing her life and taking away her pain.
+75 Obedience with Harek Skullsinger for owning her soul.
She looked at me, her immovable face unchanged even as her glowing eyes blazed with awe and obsequence. I could barely see the wariness in her respectful gaze, even knowing she was somehow not wholly mine yet. I gestured for her to follow me and walked unhurriedly down the stairs, hearing her follow after with only a moment's hesitation. I gestured at the festering but still living body of the obstinate idiot who first challenged me when I broke in, "What is the likelihood of any heroes or cops being sent to investigate the recent gunshots?" I asked my new minion.
She stared at the leaking carcass for a moment before responding, "Low. We picked this area because it's nonresidential and outside the typical patrol route of the local heroes, so the odds anyone heard them, let alone anyone who would bother to investigate, are slim to none." I nodded, patting her on the head in the hopes of inducing pavlovian conditioning. By the lack of any affection gains, it would seem my plan needs work.
Rolling my shoulders and putting a wide smile on my face, I turned to face the cowering crowd. "Well then, let's get that altar set up and start the rituals. You'll find your new gods far more generous than any of the old religions, so long as you serve us well." I clapped my hands as I looked over the miserable lot beneath my daemon's guns, beginning to dictate the altar they were to build. I had plans in mind for what exactly my new religion would look like, and I was eager to get started setting it up. I had an opportunity none save that fool Lorgar ever had before; I had a chance to shape the narrative, to dictate the truth of Chaos how I saw fit and place myself at its very top above even the gods. I could shape the future of what Chaos would come to be, and unlike the Aurelian idiot, I don't intend to waste it.
By the mixture of fear and incredulity I could see in my soon to be cultists' eyes as they began breaking pallets and dragging their casualties into the center of the room, they had no idea what was coming; they thought me some sort of madman who mistook his power for some divine writ. That was fine, so long as they followed my orders and spoke the words to give me their souls it would hardly matter if they truly believed in their new gods.
Innocence had never saved anyone from Chaos, after all.
Izuku stretched her shoulders with a smile, gazing up at the blue sky through a murky window and the thick plastic of her government mandated biohazard containment suit; they were under the mistaken impression it could contain her Lord's blessings, but she would let them keep their delusions for now. Besides, the joy of being trained directly by All Might himself more than made up for the mild inconvenience of being required to wear the cumbersome thing at all times outside of her hermetically sealed home; she was honestly more irritated for her mother's sake, having to deal with all these new restraints and useless precautions all the time just to enter her own home.
Still, she wouldn't trade her new life for anything; before she had been a Quirkless nobody being humoured by the number one hero out of what she could only guess was guilt, now she had real power and an actual chance at being a hero like she always wanted. All Might's training was rigorous, even more so when he learned she physically couldn't get tired (though he had dialed it back somewhat after she informed him that her tendons had all snapped halfway through the first of five hours of sprinted laps on day one). It had only taken him a month of physical and some light but heavily monitored "Quirk" training (to try to learn to control both her powers of entropy and her ability to ignore physical laws) before he decided she was indeed ready to inherit his power.
Apparently, her near limitless endurance made him decide she could probably handle it far sooner than he had anticipated. By the time her Master had reached the shore, she had learned how not to blow her limbs apart in a slurry of rotten meat and feculent blood everytime she tried to use One For All; his suggestion that she find what percentage she could handle and channel that across her entire body rather than channeling absolutely everything into one part had been very helpful, but it had still taken her weeks to figure out how to dial it back from an all or nothing process.
All Might's advice to clench her butt and go "Hrnnnagh" had been less than helpful. In fact, outside of pure physical training, he had proven himself to be a rather poor teacher altogether. She had tried to deny it when her Master first broached the subject, but his repeatedly pointing out the glaring and amateurish flaws in his approach had eventually gotten through the veil of her hero worship of the man.
It didn't make him any less of a hero in her eyes though, she just put it down to him having better things to spend his time on than being a teacher; even Lord Erran hadn't been able to argue that his time would have been better spent on Quirk theory and teaching than saving people. Though, the point about how ineffective and unjust the society All Might had essentially created in part due to this point of incompetence was… very uncomfortable to hear. Even after her enlightenment, having such a central part of her ideology called nothing more than an incompetent and idolistic warlord by the only thing that ever placed higher in her mind was jarring.
She pushed the images of All Might clad in golden armour and wielding a burning blade from her mind and focused back on the present. She was meditating in a private gym in All Might's tower, one he had retrofitted to also be something of an isolation ward just in case one of her plagues got away from her. It had once been a pristine place of shining gear and uniform lines, with plastic and rubber flooring and soft, even lighting; three months of playing host to a Poxbringer told to experiment with her powers had rendered it a festering ruin of pestilent growth and rusting equipment. The place resembled a little piece of the Grandfather's Garden more than any gym, though the equipment was still technically functional despite (or rather because of) the tendrils of pus seeping, tumorous flesh wrapping around and through them.
All Might had been less than thrilled at this development, but he had told her to "do her worst" with the only caveat being not killing anyone or bringing the building down. She had assured him, repeatedly and with the help of her Master's far more eloquent vocabulary, that he didn't need to burn the entire tower to prevent the infection from spreading.
He still had the floors above and below cleared out and sealed all three of them off from anyone but her anyway.
With only two months before the UA entrance exam, All Might had recommended she focus primarily on OFA and put off the more complicated parts of her God grant power for later. With this in mind, she settled down on a particularly comfy pile of squishy, dripping toadstools and focused on the almost electric power the number one hero had passed on to her. It was difficult to separate the power from that of her own daemonhood, and the distinction grew less and less the longer she had the torchbearer Quirk; she could feel the burning power slowly mixing with her essence, empowering her just as she corrupted it. With every drop that became wholly hers, she could feel her base power swelling more and more.
Though, progress was far slower than she would have liked. It was almost as if the power was resisting her, desperately struggling against her as she consumed and corrupted it. The idea amused her, especially after her Master postulated the theory that Quirks contain at least parts of their users' souls. She didn't know exactly how many heroes had held this Quirk before her, but the idea she was claiming their souls for her great Lord pleased her greatly.
She smiled, humming a cheerful tune as she focused on mastering and corrupting this heroic flame to her will. It would be such a delight to finally turn that flame of hope into the miasma of despair she just knew it could be!