As I rush towards Fate, a lance of fear pierces my heart. I still have not found a way to breach Fate's Mary Sue field, neither do I have any weapons that can even the odds. Another wave slams against the Narancha, sending the carrier tilting to the side before steadying itself. Fate waits calmly at her end of the takeoff ramp, confident in her ability to deal with me. But I'm committed now. Fate has to be defeated otherwise there would be no future for either me or The Voice.
"GALLANT!" a furious roar coming from above causes me to break my stride as I look up in alarm. One of the windows lining the carrier's tower burst open, showering the deck with shards of glass. And from the broken window bursts out a hulking ape like shape, pouncing towards me from several floors above without any hesitation. I swiftly roll to the side, avoiding being stomped into paste by the miniature giant who slams on to the deck like a cannonball.
Getting back up to my feet, I take in the warped, distended figure loping towards me. The man is now physically several times larger compared to when I last saw him, with hard muscles painted with varicose veins cover every inch of his body, but I still recognize that face lined with wrinkles caused by age and worry.
The Godfather rears himself up to his full new height, almost equal to three full grown men standing on each others' shoulders as he beats his chest, hooting in fury. The crown of his head has completely burst open, revealing several pulsing tumors growing from his skull and spilling outwards thanks to their size. I grimace at Monkey Man Mark 2, annoyed at the small fry sent by Fate to delay my approach. Flaring the core, I unleash my unadulterated presence at Matsui, trying to break what's left of his mind in a single stroke.
Matsui looks as if he has seen a ghost and immediately cowers away from me, foaming in the mouth. But then then I hear a loud, incoherent shout in the back of my head as Fate gestures imperiously at the ape man. The tumors in Matsui's head begin to pulsate with greater intensity as the fear in his eyes clears up. Matsui recovers his composure and cleans the foam from his mouth with a hairy tree trunk like arm before confronting me once more.
"Give me back my son!" Matsui roars at the top of his lungs and lashes out at me with lightning speed. Before I can react, his fist strikes me squarely in the head like a sledgehammer.
And I feel nothing, tanking the shot as if I had been hit with a pillow.
When The Voice told me that Gallant's body had a greater affinity with its power than before, I did not realize what kind of difference it would make. But now I know. Matsui's punch would ordinarily have sent me flying backwards, but with the body's increased ability to channel higher levels of power from the artificial core, my resilience has also greatly increased. Matsui might have been regarded as a troublesome small fry before, but now he is nothing compared to me.
"I'll send you to join him!" I snarl back at Matsui and send my fist whistling towards his gut. My blow solidly connects and I feel the ape man's internal organs begin to burst from the impact. Matsui is sent flying backwards in a heap before coming to a rest at Fate's feet. Matsui struggles in vain to get back into the fight before abruptly sinking to his knees and vomiting up all the pulped organs in a messy pool.
And with that, the Godfather of the Matsui clan expires, choking to death on pieces of his ribs and stomach.
"Anyone else?" I ask Fate, "Or can we get to the main event?"
There's a clang of the carrier's doors opening and with the marching of feet, men come surging out from the interior on to the deck. A motley gathering of sailors, Legion troops and Matsui enforcers hastily surround me, brandishing guns, knives, clubs and whatever makeshift weapons they could get their hands on. The scraps of this fleet. They're probably lucky to have avoided the mass suicide thanks to my sudden appearance. And at their head is Gustav bearing dark circles under his eyes, his expensive suit soaked and ruined from the rain.
"Piss off." I tell Gustav bluntly, "You're wasting my time."
Gustav blinks the rain out of his eyes and shouts, "Attack! For the goddess!"
The ring of shabby survivors charge forwards, seeking to strike at me from all sides. But the moment I flare my core, the entire wave recoils in fear and scrambles backwards in mad panic. Several of the men collapse to the floor in wracked by fits while the others cover their eyes or look away, trying to block out my presence.
"Attack! Attack!" Gustav rants like a broken record, "No retreat you cowards!" I sneer at them and raise my arm, moving the core's energy as Gallant's memory had taught me.
"Burning Bush!" I shout and unleash the spell.
The entire ring of men erupts into flame, throwing the already panicking horde into a complete rout. The group rapidly disperses, trampling over each other in their mad rush to jump overboard in order to extinguish the flames. Gustav is swallowed up by the thrashing mob and I hear his increasingly plaintive cries as he attempts to keep order with no one interested in listening to him. In no time at all, the little army that Gustav amassed had melted away, leaving his bloody body lying all alone on the deck. Battered and crushed during the stampede, Gustav is close to death, but still tries to speak.
"I fought to keep this world safe," Gustav croaks, his eyes blindly staring upwards, "to help all of you thrive, but you still stand with the Tyrant against me?"
My mind blanks in confusion. What in the world is Gustav babbling about? Getting his shit pushed in must have drove the man nuts.
"You betray me, kill my children, allow the monster the Tyrant summoned to use your body." Gustav rattles, "I will never forgive this."
Its not Gustav that's talking. Its Fate. She's just using Gustav to speak to me since I can't understand what she says.
"I will never forgive you!" Gustav shrieks like a banshee, pure hate soaked into every syllable.
Matter sense blares a warning in my mind and I jump to the side, barely avoiding getting skewered by the flagpole Fate had armed herself with. Backing up quickly and taking care not to enter the Mary Sue field she's erected, I easily dodge Fate's follow up attacks and build a healthy amount of distance between us.
As this game of cat and mouse continues, with Fate pressing me while I evade, I slowly begin to get a better idea of how Fate's powers work. Fate's has the strength and speed of an average, unpowered woman. That makes dodging her easy. As long as I am not caught in the Mary Sue field.
Fate's flagpole shoots forward towards my head as the field expands hungrily out. I jump, grabbing a convenient ledge and start scaling the carrier's tower, managing to avoid the blow that causes the flagpole to tear right through the Narancha's hull. That kind of force would have been impossible with Fate's level of strength. But not with the Mary Sue field active. I have no idea how the Mary Sue field works, but I can make a fair guess at what it actually does. Fate cannot fail in anything she tries, as long as it is done within the field. Not strong enough to do any damage? No problem, Fate does damage anyway because the Mary Sue field says so. Not fast enough to dodge bullets? Who cares, everyone knows that Mary Sues can dodge just by shuffling awkwardly about.
Mary Sue is the kind of OP ability a hero or heroine would get. Reality would bend over backwards to ensure Fate kicks my ass as long as the field is active. The only consolation is that there is a limit as to how far the field can extend. Fate's pathetic base stats mean that outside of the Mary Sue zone, she has no real chance of hurting me. I take a flying leap from the Narancha's tower and land on the opposite end of the carrier's runway from Fate. I need maximum available space to keep maneuvering around her. But there's still another problem. To hurt Fate I need to get close. Ranged attacks won't work either, The Voice's miniguns at the hub had proven that. All I am accomplishing now is buying time.
To break this deadlock, I need to gamble.
Fate rushes at me again with the flagpole held like a lance. I lift my fist high and summon the core's strength.
"Damavand!" I shout, bringing the fist down hard on the Narancha's deck.
The power that can subdue a dragon ripples outwards, shattering the flight deck as Fate hurtles pell mell towards me. As the ground disintegrates beneath her feet, she plummets down into the Narancha's hangar. Wasting no time, I pounce in right after her, angling my body so that it will land right on top of Fate.
A Mary Sue always wins because she is the center of her reality. But unlike Gallant, I am not part of this world.
I am not part of Fate's reality.
As the body falls, I shut off the core causing my strength to ebb away. Fate lands heavily but with no injury and she quickly redirects the flagpole upwards, looking to spear me like a fish. With no way to dodge, I can only watch as the edge of the flagpole grows steadily closer.
Until it pierces me neatly through the chest, right in the heart.
But that does not matter. The gamble paid off.
The moment my body made contact with the field, the red threads immediately began to fray and break apart, just like in the Crossroads. As The Voice had said, Gallant's soul no longer provides a mitigating factor against my presence. Now, my alien presence literally weighs on this world wherever I go. And before a stranger to this world, Fate's status as a Mary Sue means nothing.
I feel numbness spread all over the body as it begins to fail again, the core's power no longer animating it. With the last of my available strength, I headbutt Fate hard, sending her reeling backwards in surprise. As she releases her grip on the flagpole, I fire up the core once more and the weakness fades. Grabbing the makeshift weapon by the shaft, I pull it out of my chest while Fate desperately attempts to reassemble her Mary Sue field.
But before she is even halfway done, I hurl the flagpole like a javelin, piercing her straight through the shoulder.
"Dead men don't need their organs silly." I mock while stalking towards the now injured goddess. Fate stumbles away, the red thread no longer working on reactivating the field. She has instead redirected the thread towards the wound I have inflicted. The flagpole begins to be forced out of her body as the threads rapidly seal the gaping hole. With a powerful flap of her wings, Fate shoots out of the Narancha's hangar, back towards the relative safety of the deck. The field is down, but Fate is far from out. Her rapid regeneration is going to be a problem. Focusing the core's power, I begin casting as I had learnt from Gallant's memories. A single step is taken -
- and my whole body flashes forward in a blur, intercepting Fate in midair.
Her reactions slowed to mundane levels, Fate cannot react in time to me grabbing one of her wings. With a pull from my remaining arm, the wing tears off in a shower of blood, sending her crashing back down hard on to the ship's deck. As Fate staggers back up to her feet, the red thread has already gotten to work on the savaged wing, stopping the bleeding and already growing it back. The wound in her shoulder is completely healed as the flagpole slips out of the disappearing wound with a clatter.
Wasting no time, I rush forwards and deliver a kick to the now thoroughly confused goddess's crotch. Fate's entire body bucks upwards and she sinks to the ground in spasms of pain.
"Pointless." Gustav's hoarse voice reaches me from the far end of the deck, "My body will heal before you can deliver a killing blow."
"I worked that out already." I smirk, "Here's the coup de grace."
Reaching into the trench coat, I pull off the hangman's noose that came as part of The Voice's armor set that had been prepared for me. As Fate rolls on to her belly and begins crawling away, I loop the noose around her neck and tighten it.
"This shit blocks your powers. Feel it?" I mock as the red thread crackles impotently, breaking up whenever it touches the noose, "How long do you think you will last with a broken neck?"
"Don't. Please." Gustav's voice pleads, "You will deliver this world to the Tyrant. You will doom every single living thing to unending darkness."
I pull Fate up to her feet and march her to the edge of the Narancha's ramp, holding my end of the noose tightly.
"No. One. Cares." I state before kicking Fate's body right off the Narancha and jerking the rope hard. I feel a sudden resistance.
Then nothing. Not a peep from Gustav. Nothing but a dead weight swaying from the noose.
I look down and see the codex falling from the folds of Fate's evening gown. She had hidden the thing in her bosom all this time, how about that. The codex is quickly swallowed up by the sea as the storms quietens down and the vortex disappears. All around me, the red threads that blocked The Voice's presence disintegrate before being blown away with the sea breeze. I let the swaying corpse of the goddess drop into the sea as well, where it sinks like a stone.
"Well done, Transmigrator." The Voice rasps from the earpiece, "Mission accomplished."
"Is it over?" I ask, slumping against the Narancha's hull in relief.
"Yes." The Voice confirms, "It is over. You did it. You saved the world."
End of Arc Four