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Persona: Hero x Villain System

Cole Stephens awoke in a dark alley inside a body of a murdered high schooler, his memory of his life taken from him by whatever power brought him into this world that was supposed to be on the pages of a comic and not a reality of its reader. Cole Stephens, now known as Jeremy York, was once heir to the considerable fortune of York Industries.

Iwalkthestars · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
103 Chs

Chapter 79: Haunt Me No More

Chapter 79: Haunt Me No More

Xavier had uncovered a secret. If it weren't for the upgraded Cerebro, Professor Xavier wouldn't have unveiled this secret. Jason Todd and Jeremy York are the same. The young boy possessed exceptional shapeshifting abilities, and his sister had similar skills but not to such an extent; from his estimation, he became these people, which Xavier believed were boundless in their extent.

Being an Omega himself, he comprehended the concept of the power scale. The teenager could easily evade anyone, particularly with his intellect. He had observed what was inside the A.T.C., which must be handled carefully. He was sure the government would love to get their hands on the tech and his wealth, which he suspected were millions.

Special Agent Misty Knight hadn't known nor suspected Jeremy York, student of Midtown High, the son of the murdered former head of York Industries, who now he understood was at the hands of The Hand, an organization that he and his X-men had come in contact with numerous times, it wasn't until recently that he realized that this boy had waged war against them because of their hand in his family murder.

He was sure the efficient detective had her suspicions, but Xavier was still shocked. His abilities were far from normal or as normal as a mutant could be in a world ruled by humans.

He had a dazzling thought: What if this Cole individual, the teen mind, had a strong image of that name, causing the Professor to wonder about his identity? Was the mutant, and was Jeremy York a shape the teen had taken? It was possible; shapeshifters had done that before; he was privy to a couple of times Mystique had assumed the identity of a famous person.

'Admirable endeavor, but a son shouldn't have to avenge his parents.' Had Erik known, he would have heard the boy out. He was glad his friend hadn't stepped in his way and complicated the situation.

He sighed, feeling conflicted. If the teenager hadn't experienced such a difficult life, he would have been the perfect candidate for the X-men team. However, he was not the first mutant to struggle and lose his way, nor would he be the last. Despite this, his significant efforts in stopping the proto-goblins, a threat that had been dismissed by city and government officials, and his takedown of half the group known as the Sinister Six were genuinely heroic and revealing.

Professor X froze in place, his eyes blinking rapidly as he realized the memories had been altered. For those who were not aware of the broad multiverse theory, it was a jarring experience to know that something had changed and that they were the only ones who knew about it. Having separate memories of a singular moment, altering keywords, and ending the conclusion differently was jarring. However, to Cole Stephens, it was just another issue in the Marvel universe, where the timeline was never truly safe.

Xavier sensed a presence staring at him, such hate and anger. He peered back at the building in which Jeremy York's physical body remained and stared toward the man with a halo of red surrounding him. The aged telepath hadn't had time to process the threat that loomed before another startling situation occurred.

'What have you done?' Xavier hurriedly turned back towards where the boy's slowly reforging form reappeared.

Cole wouldn't have sensed the nondescript command to answer if he had not been wary of the older telepath. Cole opened his mouth to respond but clamped down on his thoughts and mind, realizing that wouldn't work. He used his Ectokinesis power to protect himself and suddenly solidified inside the astral realm.

Xavier had immediately noticed the distortion of his memories and subtly attacked, hoping to disarm the mutant whose powers seemed to have no rhyme or reason; the sheer scale of his gifts was perplexing. Having had the chance to read some of the teen's surface thoughts, he had a better understanding of the youth and why he had donned the Red Hood. It wasn't lost on Xavier that the teen hadn't been murdering the innocent, but his action still shined a light. He would rather not be on mutant-kind.

Psionic energies enraptured him once again, and his heightened senses quickly detected the interference from the Professor. Arrogantly ignoring the incredulous Professor X, they observed his constitution's almost instant change. Cole raised his hand to eye level, observing the change, opening and clenching his nearly tangible hand.

Cole was intrigued by the system protecting Xavier against the time stone. He wanted many questions answered, but he couldn't ask them. Xavier had already made him an enemy, yet he allowed dangerous individuals like Magneto, a known terrorist, and Mystique to operate freely due to his questionable moral standards.

'You're aware of this,' Xavier concentrated, obviously trying to pry. 'Time Manipulation? Truly, such things are possible.' Xavier had caught the surface thoughts as he always passively read minds.

'Personal boundaries are a thing, man!' Cole snarled, vapors pouring from the corner of his mouth. The immediate area around him chilled as hoarfrost spread across the ground between the two. Xavier observed this with keen eyes, aware of the implications. Cole stood slowly, glaring at the telepath.

Xavier's brows scrunched, and he ignored the teen's first sign of aggression. 'You know a lot about things you shouldn't. Just who are you, Jeremy York or Cole?' Xavier asked, no command behind his words. He was genuinely curious about who he was; at least, that was what Cole could deduce.

Cole glared, debating what degree of damage he should cause. Should he kill the man? The question resounded in his mind, and he was tempted, but could he shoulder the aftermath afterward? He didn't know.

He had a powerful but young team, and he wasn't confident that all of them would come out unscathed. At best, a pyrrhic victory was on the table.

Kaecillus could protect the A.T.C. without him and his physical body. He doubted anything Xavier had could contend with them both, especially if Cole went all out and threw caution to the wind.

His only hangup was releasing himself from his burdens and showing all his cards. He was optimistic if he did that, people wouldn't stop harassing him, and that's not even thinking about people like Fury; today, the aged spymaster would allow a teenager with his level of power to be unrestrained.

He began to check his inventory without any hesitation. Although he had seen it work only once, he assumed it was possible. First, the lantern ring appeared on his index finger, and The Cloak of Destiny coalesced on his shoulder. However, he couldn't manifest his helmet. Without concern, he used his ectokinesis to reforge his helmet on top of his head; the astral plane wasn't physical, so forms were insignificant. The helmet he wore was not his Red Hood cowl but a representation of it created from astral energies. He resisted psionics due to the nature of his powers, and he further strengthened his mind. Then he opened up to the plane and felt its energy and vitality.

"I cannot read your surface thoughts any longer. Your potential astounds me, young mutant!" Xavier said reluctantly. Xavier's hand went to his temple, a tale that Cole knew he did to throw others off; it was a known consensus in comics that he had already done something beforehand; the story was a way to make his foe depend on him using his hands to go on the offense.

Cole's earlier assessment and training after his third persona had been a godsend. As the system notification pressed for his attention, he was already pushing the boundaries of his abilities, bringing his understanding to higher levels. The system had made one thing abundantly clear about him being a holder: he wasn't your traditional mutant; he was more in the vein of a video game character; his abilities and understanding progressed as such, too. The notification he held flashed before his eyes as the two combatants reacted almost simultaneously.

—>[+7] Ectokinesis: The user can create, shape, and manipulate energy unique to spirits/ghosts.

Ecto-blasts shot from Cole, pointing hands. Xavier hazard defected the attacks; the sheer force of the blow pushed him across the expanse of the astral plane, moving them from the representation of Coles building.

—> [+6] Astral Projection Portal: By manipulating Ectoplasm energies, The Host can project his consciousness, manifest onto the astral plane, and create portals. The Host can only use the astral plane to port to places the Host haunts.

Cole appeared near the telepath, hoping to continue his onslaught, but was rebuffed by sheer telekinetic power. Xavier came to a halt, his form floating.

"You are growing at an alarming rate, child," Xavier admitted. The golden cloak reacted, enrapturing him in a cacoon-like shield as the blasts slammed into him. He groaned out in pain as a vice-like grip clammed against his reinforced mental shield. Like before, his mental shield shielded his mind from the telepath, but the nigh-impenetrable shields caused horrendous pain.

Cole's ectoplasmic shield spasmed, his hand held out to keep it up as Xavier bombarded him with psionic blasts. Xavier let go of any pretenses and did what he was good at.

"Commendable, but you're untrained in the..." His words caught in his throat as he separated from the teen.

Cole had wanted to hold back the transformation and use only a bare minimum of his abilities.

—> [+10] Transformation: Originally, when Daniel and Kurt's ghost merge, Daniel's body becomes covered in ectoplasm that gives him various superhuman abilities; because of the unique nature of the Host, this transformation involves all personas, significantly increasing Haunt's parameters.

Cole had summoned his total understanding of his powers and appeared exactly where Xavier was. He crashed into the mutant, breaking whatever he attempted, his clawed hand raking across his torso.

Cole kicked the mutant away, his transformation still happening as it consumed his body in a white and black substance. Hand outstretched, he blaster the professor with A blast of ectoplasmic energy. The energy attack had struck with a thunderous effect. The older mutant caught off guard, was flung backward, sending him away from the ATC building.

-->[+2] Claws: Haunt has razor-sharp claws on each finger that can easily decapitate enemies.

-->[+3] Metamorphosis: You can manipulate your ectoplasm to create tentacles, cobwebs, spikes, blades, and other appendages.

Professor Xavier and Cole tumbled through the air and buildings—their battle unknown to the waking world.

A clawed hand had cleaved the man's head from his body. Cole froze, hands reaching his head as he appeared back where he started. He looked around, shocked, and back at the Professor. He stood or tried, and Xavier's secondary plan had settled upon him.

'You bastard.' He roared aloud as he lashed out again. Again, he had appeared back in the gym, sitting in his meditation position.

"How?" He recalled the worry he felt, and no one knew why. This was an Omega-level mutant amped beyond his average potential.

'It's futile. Sleep. When we can free you from the burden of your gifts, I promise to wake you.' The man said dispassionately. Xavier had to hide his emotions as the youth struggled before him, his attacks growing in scope and power.

'Sleep. The Hand has wronged you, but this isn't the path. Your actions are noble, but I can't weigh your revenge on the backs of millions of our kind. I'm sorry, Jeremy, or is it Cole?'

Cole had been trapped in an illusion. Xavier had somehow gotten into his mind, and the system hadn't warned or shielded him. He panicked and lashed out with a shrill roar that shook the bounds of the illusionary plane and blew his attacker away.

Cole had appeared before the Professor. His arm cocked back to deliver a blow that would probably end the fight. But he was shocked to find himself being pushed toward the ground, his arms locked to his side; Xavier stood above him, looking down at him.

Cole slammed into the ground. Xavier pressed him down further, cracking the surface and causing spiderweb cracks to emanate around him.

He snarled and bellowed; red energies ripped from him. Xavier's eyes enlarged, and he fled as red beams tore the space around him, leaving slowly healing cracks in the space of its passing.

'What was that?' Xavier thought, staring back at the standing teen. He seethed as he stared at Xavier, his hand clamped over the ring, his ring warmed under his palm as he pushed for his mandate, the soothing energies clearing his mind.

'That was bad. I almost lost it for a second.' He had almost transformed into the Lantern, something he had held against for the longest; he still should test the transformation outside of battle soon, though.

Cole launched himself back into the air. He couldn't efficiently contend with the mental warfare that the man could launch. He had shown many cards, but he still had his Ectokinesis. It was in the same vein as psionics, their abilities so similar that psionics could manipulate energies and souls with their sheer mental powers.

Push.

Xavier slid back before righting himself. Cole smiled; this was the astral, and his abilities allowed him more manipulation of this plane than outside. Cole looked up as he summoned the astral clouds.

Strange clouds had rumbled overhead as blobs of astral particles came together. Xavier floated in the astral, confused at what this was. Xavier barely had time to defend himself as the teen appeared before him.