Disclaimer: I own nothing but my original characters and works, if you recognise it from somewhere else, surprise it isn't mine.
Betad by morde24, Atrius, Hermes, Priapus, Marethyu, Old man of the mountain, TheDonFluffles and Mike, God of Lore
The Guild of Gamers: The Gambler
Chapter 03: Mr Popular
— Emily Piggot —
"What do you mean Scion was in the building?" Emily said, her tone incredibly flat as Miss Militia stood before her.
"Exactly that, ma'am. During the Wards introduction Scion phased through the ceiling, briefly stared at us before asking Sett to cast the Salvation ability on him. After Sett complied, Scion thanked him and left, saying he'd return," Hannah replied, utterly professional despite how shaken she seemed.
Emily didn't blame her, almost having an aneurysm from the mere thought of the strongest Parahuman just casually trespassing in her base.
"Where is he now?" Emily asked, making Hannah pause briefly, hesitant.
"Above us. He's flown high above the city and is just… hovering there, eyes closed. No fliers have approached him, yet. Nobody wants to be the reason he takes offence," Hannah admitted, oh fucking wonderful.
This city was a powder keg already, and now it was a powder keg with a nuke sitting on top of it, just waiting to go off and engulf them all in the flames.
She went to respond before her computer gave her a notification, making her wince.
"I need to take this call, it's the Chief Director. Sett is still with the Wards?" Emily asked, making Hannah nod. "Good, try and keep him around until we can get some answers over what the hell is going on."
Recognising the dismissal, Hannah left as Emily pressed a button under her desk and secured the room, answering the call.
"Director Piggot, I'm not going to waste words because neither of us have the time for that," Rebecca said immediately. "Scion, what is he doing?"
"Right now? Nothing, he's floating above the city," Emily reported, making Rebecca let out a sigh of relief. "He-"
"I already know about his interaction with Sett, Emily, this is the first time Scion has requested anything. Sett is now in the possible possession of something more valuable than any power, Scion owning them a favour as he has claimed he will return," Rebecca said bluntly. "I don't care what it takes, I want Sett on the Wards. Do not let New Wave take this opportunity from us, I don't care what it costs us, build a solid gold statue of him in the entrance to Rig if you have to, between his Eidolon-like power and now Scion's attention, Sett is more important to the PRT than either of us."
Emily's face scrunched up in distaste, this was why she hated capes. A single cape with a power they got from dumb luck shows up and they'd become more important than a thousand regular people like her, all for a twist of fate.
How did the Chief Director already know about his New Wave affiliations?
"What do you know about him, personality wise?" Rebecca asked, ignoring her distaste.
"So far, he's a surprisingly polite and respectful teenage boy, friends with Glory Girl and apparently had already been offered a place in New Wave if he finds the Wards not to his taste, by Brandish no less. The only negative traits we've seen so far are the fact that his 'escalation engine' makes him increasingly violent and sadistic and the fact that he apparently stared at Miss Militia's backside," Emily admitted, seeing Rebecca scowl at the mention of New Wave.
"Find out what he wants, what it will take to get him on board. Do this and I'll grant those budget increase requests you've been sending, hell I'll double your budget. Sett is more important than you know, more than I hope you'll ever know for your own sake," Rebecca said bluntly, making Emily straighten up.
Ah, classified information. She didn't have all the pieces. She was expected to give this new cape anything it took to recruit him, without knowing entirely why.
If it was big enough to double her budget, she'd guess it was downright apocalyptic given how tightly the PRT held onto their precious budget, not letting a single quarter fall to her city.
The unspoken 'your job is on the line if you fuck this up' didn't need to be said, she understood the game well enough.
"Very well, I will do what I can," Emily said, decidedly not happy with this state of affairs.
"I'm sending Alexandria down there soon, officially to keep an eye on Scion, he's a walking weapon of mass destruction. She knows the importance of recruiting Sett, and will assist in any way she can," Rebecca continued, making Emily stiffen. "I have to go, I've got more fires to put out, but get on it Emily. I want results."
She should be happy, right? All the time she'd asked for more capes, and now she was getting a member of the Triumvirate coming her way.
She was not.
Firstly, a Triumvirate in Brockton Bay could be the fuse to make the gangs finally blow the entire thing up if they panicked and thought she was there for them, secondly… Alexandria was an arrogant bitch who acted like she was the director of wherever she went.
This was not going to be a pleasant experience.
— Rebecca Costa-Brown (Alexandria) —
Scion, the great enemy, had completely changed his pattern and she had no idea why.
She didn't know what Sett did to him, she didn't know why Scion approached him, she didn't even know where Sett had come from.
He was one of their Case 53s, they discovered that quickly enough, but it had been Contessa who made him. Contessa who then removed her own memories with Slug, and didn't remember why she'd done it.
All Contessa would say is that her paths required it, even if Sett himself was now a complete blindspot for her.
Sett shouldn't have this many powers, the vial he'd been given was Eden's version of the power Lung ended up with. That was all it should have given him, and yet he had somehow gained new powers that even the Entity didn't seem to understand.
Contessa had made him on a path simply named 'Path to preventing the end of the world.'
Her final steps? Create Sett, then remove her memory of every step she'd taken on the path up until that point.
She didn't know why Sett was important, only that he was a key figure. Just with this action alone, their best estimates had changed from the world ending in three years at the most to the world ending in around ten to twenty years.
Whatever Sett had done had bought them at least a decade. She needed him on board, but he was a blindspot to seemingly all thinkers so Contessa couldn't Path how to get him into the Wards, so she'd have to do things the hard way.
Emily couldn't be trusted to do this, she'd been kept in her position because she was just competent enough to stop the gangs from overwhelming the PRT but not competent enough to interfere with their Brockton Bay experiment.
Coil was another issue, the snake wouldn't leave this alone since it was a threat to his plans, even if he was probably cowering in his base with two massive blind spots in his city at the moment.
She wouldn't have him disposed of, even if the experiment was no longer viable, as he could be a useful tool later.
She needed Sett in the Wards, where they'd have easy access to his growing powers, so she could find out if he was the silver bullet they'd been waiting for.
And all she had to go on was 'polite but horny teenage boy'?
One that New Wave, a movement that had died with Fleur and had been uselessly floundering ever since, was probably going to steal away?
Sure, Panacea had probably done more to stabilise things than anyone outside of Cauldron since her constant saving of heroes and prevented them from being even more outnumbered, and Glory Girl was a fairly active cape, but the movement their parents had tried to start was buried with Fleur, and Brandish and Lady Photon barely tried anymore.
She'd briefly been curious about Fleur's death, Contessa ran a path to prevent Capes from being shot by regular people (because if people realised that most capes were very vulnerable to bullets they'd lose entirely too many before the final battle), but she hadn't tried to stop Fleur's death. Sure, occasionally someone died in a shootout with a gang, but outright assassination attempts very rarely succeeded and they are rare now because of it.
The answer? It wasn't a regular thug, it was Victor. Kaiser just killed a random mole in her organisation and blamed it on them.
And with that, the unmasking movement and their demands for Cape Accountability came to a swift end, but…
If they got their hands on a cape as strong as Sett, with as much potential, it could revive their movement since Sett himself obviously didn't have a civilian identity he could hide behind. If it hadn't occurred to Brandish yet, it would when word of his power spread.
How far they'd go to get him to join them was a mystery, but she wouldn't let them take him from under them.
— Sett —
With Miss Militia running off to report the intrusion by my golden bro, I found myself left with an embarrassed and angry Shadow Stalker alongside an amused Vista and Glory Girl.
We've mostly been chatting about cape life, what being a hero is like, well me, Vista and Glory Girl have been, Shadow Stalker hasn't said much since her blurted words. I don't blame her, I stick my foot in my mouth too much for that.
Apparently the Wards don't usually fight much in most cities, but the Brockton Bay situation is bad enough that they end up covering a lot more patrols than most, instead of being mostly a PR team.
Vista speaks well of the Ward program, she genuinely seems to love being a hero, apparently she's one of the longest-running Wards, having triggered very young.
Shadow Stalker is less complimentary, Vista sniping at her over the fact that she isn't here by choice, an ex-vigilante who had to choose between probation and juvie after she went too far.
Vicky doesn't seem to mind the tense situation, Vista and Shadow Stalker really don't seem to get along at all, nudging me as she throws an arm around my shoulder, joking about me growing up so fast, already a hit with the ladies (turns out PHO got my nudes, I've got a fan club already).
Perhaps my luck is just bad outside of the almighty Gacha, because as Vicky leans against me the door opens up and three masked teens enter the room.
"Hey, things seem crazy around here… what'd we miss?" one starts, dressed in a white bodysuit with various clocks embedded into it, freezing as he sees me. "Oh, hi Satan."
I just wave lazily, keeping my mouth shut.
He has two guys in power armour with him, one looking like some sci-fi white knight and the other in red and bronze armour, both pausing as they stare at me.
The red one looks at Vicky, still hanging off my side, before he turns to the white one, awkwardly.
"Clock-" Vista starts, interrupted by who I assume is Clockblocker (great name).
"So, I'm totally just in this hero thing to get laid, that's sinful right? My soul wouldn't taste nice anyway," Clockblocker jokes, making me snort. "I can even prepare a virgin sacrifice, Vista- wait, you'd twist space into a pretzel and leave me wondering why left is up and down is backwards again, oi Kid, you're a virgin right? Take one for the team and go get eaten by Satan," Clockblocker says, nudging Kid Win who just sighs.
"Vicky, who's this?" the final one asks, gesturing to me as Vicky waves, finally moving away.
"Hey, Gallant, guys. This is Sett, he's a new cape. He's just here for Power Testing and to set some paperwork up, I'm his emotional support hero," Vicky teases, nudging me with her shoulder again.
"Yup, Satan is known for being emotionally fragile," Clockblocker says as he approaches, ignoring the stilted air. "Clockblocker, at your service oh king of hell, I'd make a great demon, or a court jester, you need them in hell right?"
I go to reply, reaching out for his outstretched hand before Vista speaks up.
"Before you freeze him, keep in mind he's a better Lung mixed with Eidolon, Panacea and Myrddin~" Vista says, making Clockblocker freeze himself, laughing awkwardly as all three stare at me, making me feel a little self-conscious.
"And he just had Scion come to see him, that's what all the chaos is about. Scion just wandered in, asked for Sett to heal him then left, which means Sett's a bigger deal than you three combined," Shadow Stalker scoffs. "But go ahead, do your dumb prank."
"Erm, I'd never prank your majesty?" Clock squeaks, seeing nobody refute Shadow Stalker or Vista's words.
"Shame, could have been funny," I say, giving him a small smile as I shake his hand.
"Stop sweating, Clock, Sett isn't going to eat you," Vicky says with a laugh.
"You'd taste terrible. I have standards," I continue, making Clockblocker laugh and shake my hand. I think I get his type, the team jokester.
"Ah, and I don't meet your royal palate, I'd say thank God but maybe hail Satan would be better? Anyway, these two statues are Kid Win and Gallant, are you thinking of joining the Wards? We don't have a demon yet, but you'll have to fight with Shadow Stalker for the edgy teammate role," Clock jokes, making Shadow Stalker growl.
"I'm considering it, getting a better idea of my options and all that," I admit, and I get the feeling he's grinning under his mask.
"Excellent. You wouldn't regret it. The pay is mediocre, the hours demanding but at least the food is terrible," Clock says, before pausing. "Huh, why do we do this again?"
"For the good of the city?" I ask, making him shake his head.
"Nah, can't be that. Oh yeah, the fangirls. That was it, I'm sure if I keep at it I'll get some groupies eventually," Clock says irrelevantly as space warps, Vista slapping the back of his head despite being behind me.
Oh, she's good.
"Well, I can handle the food issue at least. I'll have you know my breakfast was good enough to win the undying adulation of Brandish… or her minor approval at least," I joke, making Vicky snort.
"Don't forget Amy!" Vicky teases, making me roll my eyes.
"Who could?" I reply, deadpan.
"You got Brandish's approval just through cooking? She always looks at me like I'm something she wiped off her boot," Clock says, impressed.
"You called her a milf, to her face," Kid Win says, making Clock wince.
"Okay, but I didn't think she was still right there, but that's not important right now," Clock says quickly, ignoring Vicky's squawk of 'you what?!'. Throwing himself to his knees, he prostrates himself towards me as I blink. "Oh demon of delicious breakfasts, please join us and save us from the cafeteria food! I'm a ginger so I don't have a soul, but I can offer you a fantastic collection of video games, comics and my snack supply!"
He's got video games? That's a damn good offer, best I've heard yet.
"Are you supposed to admit what you look like under your mask?" I ask, amused despite myself as he rises up with no shame.
"Meh," he helpfully replies, as Kid Win rolls his eyes.
"Oi, get back to the part where you called my mom a milf," Vicky demands, making Clockblocker wince and noticeably step to place me between him and Vicky. "Don't use Sett as a human shield, answer me!"
— Dean Stansfield (Gallant) —
Watching his girlfriend chase around a cowering Dennis, he couldn't bring himself to feel amused as he glanced back at the demon.
He thought Amy was just fucking with him, 'a date with a demon', but there she was, hanging off this Sett. She didn't treat the other guys in the Wards like that, and she'd moved away quickly when she'd seen him.
Not for the first time, he wished her emotions were more clear to him, and while he could feel some muffled emotions from her, he could feel nothing from Sett.
The Case 53 was a completely blank slate to him, beyond the amused smile on his face as he watched the chase.
"Sett, root him!"
"Sett, please don't root me! What does that even mean? You can root for me though!" Clock said as he dove over the couch, making him roll his eyes. Vicky wasn't really trying to catch him, he could faintly feel her amusement.
They were supposed to maintain a level of decorum when they had an independent around, but that was a lost cause with Clock.
They both froze as the door opened and Miss Militia walked in, freezing mid step as she looked at the stage of the room and simply sighed.
"Clock, console duty today," Miss Militia said simply as she turned to Sett.
"Hey, how do you know it was me-" Clock started before pausing at her raised eyebrow. "Yes, ma'am, sorry ma'am."
"Sett, they're ready for the next round of testing if you're ready to use Salvation again," Miss Militia said softly, making Sett nod easily.
"I am, the whole Scion thing drained my batteries but I'm ready," Sett said, turning to Clock. "It was nice meeting you, good luck," Sett said grimly, giving him a salute.
"I'm going to stay here to catch up with the others, I don't think I'll be needed if you're just testing your magic touch," Vicky teased making Sett grin, giving her a wave as he followed Miss Militia.
The brief burst of affection she felt was picked up by his senses, making him frown under his mask.
Vicky immediately went back to harassing Clock, Kid going to his room to grab his stuff so he could get some lab time in.
Vista gave him a wave, before going to her room, but to his surprise he wasn't left alone while Vicky messed around with Clock.
"I give it a week," Sophia said bluntly, making him turn to her in confusion. Her emotions were all over the place, awe bursting through her usual rage.
"Excuse me?" Dean replied, making Sophia snort.
"I give it a week before Glory Hole is getting a serving of demon dick, she's barely been able to keep her hands off him," Sophia said again, continuing as he glared at her from behind his helmet. Sophia was not a nice person, every Ward knew this (except maybe Carlos who was still settling into his new leadership position and didn't want to admit that Sophia had no plans to work with them, convinced she just needed time and space).
What did she get out of saying that? Just to piss him off? Unlikely, she'd been walking around on eggshells for the last month, they'd all noticed it, she probably got in trouble for one of her 'unscheduled' patrols. She didn't play nice but she usually just ignored them instead of insulting them.
"Hey, maybe she'll wait until the next time you two break up, that shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks, but I doubt it since he's living with her," Sophia continued, cutting him off. "You know, he was naked when she found him, there's pictures and everything. Vicky even said it was the biggest dick she's seen outside of porn, guess you can't be gifted everywhere rich boy," Sophia snorted as she walked past him towards the gym.
He shouldn't let it get to him, but at the end of the day, he was a teenage boy under his gallant knight act he'd perfected for his hero duties, jealousy bubbling in his chest.
The next Eidolon, best friends with fucking Scion, the big dicked demon that his girlfriend was apparently so impressed with. She hadn't answered his texts last night, he'd tried to check in on her after that pillar of light, and soon enough he had confirmation of why.
Vicky found Sett near the pillar, naked and confused, and took him home with her. She ignored him because she was busy with her new friend.
— Hannah (Miss Militia) —
She genuinely didn't know what to think about Sett, but from an initial meeting she was impressed with him even before she found out how obscenely strong his potential was.
He was getting better at the healing 'spell', it was a long… cast time, but each time he did it the time was just a little shorter.
He was polite, respectful, didn't whine about the sheer amount of paperwork he had to do (which was better than most of the Wards), and sure his gaze might have… wandered occasionally but he was trying not to stare, seeming embarrassed if she caught his gaze lower than her neck.
She was used to it, you couldn't be a heroine for as long as her (wearing form-fitting fatigues) and not get used to being ogled. She once caught Kid Win… enjoying himself with some drawings of her in various states of undress.
It was her fault, she should have knocked when she went to remind him that they had an unscheduled meeting. Chris looked like he thought she was going to change her weapon into a nuke and erase him from existence for the sheer gall of daring lust after her.
He was a teenage boy, spending regular time with an attractive older woman, she was far from surprised, and she'd seen the depths of depravity that the internet went to.
Once you've read fanfics of you in a love-hate sexual relationship with Kaiser, there's little that can truly surprise you.
So no, she wasn't offended when she occasionally felt his gaze wander to her backside.
It actually relieved her after the Scion situation, to know that this future powerhouse that would likely rise up to have his name said alongside Alexandria, Legend and Eidolon, was still just a teenage boy.
She had genuinely been terrified during that, Scion having invaded their base with such casual ease and then he was right there, next to two of their Wards, and she could do nothing.
The weapons that could possibly scratch him would kill everyone else in the room, and if he'd turned hostile, Vista and Shadow Stalker would have died and she'd have been able to do nothing to protect them.
She felt helpless, and then Sett casually chatted with Scion like they were old friends, told the near-godlike being that he'd have to share the colour gold and then got him to leave.
For that, she felt a considerable amount of gratitude because, when you had been a hero as long as she had, your mind always jumped to the worst case scenario.
Scion handled Endbringers with apparent ease, so to say they were outmatched was a laughable understatement.
"So, what do you plan to do next?" Hannah asked as they walked back to the Wards room after the tests were complete.
It was rare that a cape was as open and transparent as Sett, happily going along with the tests. Normally getting an independent to come in for testing was an uphill battle, fearing the PRT would use the information against them.
They'd asked him what seemed like a million questions about Scion, but Sett was as clueless as them. He didn't even know who Scion was, which was embarrassing to realise in hindsight, and he'd told them everything he knew about Salvation.
…Haven was going to hate that ability name, they were going to hate Sett. The Christian-hero group were borderline extremist at times.
"Probably go back to the Dallon house, Carol has kindly offered her couch and I draw less attention with other capes around," Sett replied after a moment.
Right, the Dallons.
New Wave had apparently offered him a place if he had a good reason to not want to join the Wards, but she wasn't optimistic enough to think that would continue when they found out just how powerful he actually was. Everyone would want a piece of him, heroes and villains alike.
She wouldn't be surprised if Faultline made an offer, seeking to add this powerhouse to her growing collection of Case 53s.
Obviously that wasn't what they wanted. Sett was too powerful for them to risk him getting tempted to villainy, even if Faultline was on the lower end of the villain scale.
The Empire wouldn't care about his Case 53 status if it meant getting their own pet Lung, who knew what Lung himself would do when word got out and the Merchants…
The idea of seeing Sett turn to villainy genuinely worried her, as while he didn't seem the type, teenagers were easily influenced, easily tempted.
She'd seen it entirely too many times, young capes getting drawn into a life of crime with promises of wealth, women and whatever else they desired.
New Wave would be a better option, but still… Sett would be better off with the Wards, Glory Girl was a flying example of that.
Her constant collateral damage, Brandish putting down any attempt to seriously punish her for her reckless actions, would she act the same with Sett?
Let him run around doing basically whatever he wanted as long as it benefited the New Wave name, all while hoarding two of the three healers in Brockton Bay.
Thankfully, Sett seemed to get along well enough with the Wards and they were laying good groundwork for a recruitment pitch, Vista was one of the biggest supporters of the Ward program so she definitely extolled its virtues, and Shadow Stalker probably didn't want to talk much given her earlier outburst.
The Wards shouldn't be a problem, they were mostly good kids, they wouldn't drive him away.
Opening the door to the Wards area, she immediately froze as the door opened to a shouting match.
"Oh, so because you're my boyfriend you get to decide who I can and can't hang out with!?" Vicky shouted, pushing Dean as he stumbled back, even with his armour on. "Why don't you put a collar on me as well, since apparently I'm your property."
Not now, please don't do this now.
Sophia stood in the corner, arms crossed as she watched the show, Vista, Kid Win and Clockblocker seemed to be alternating between trying to calm things down and staying out of the way of the irate Glory Girl, her aura going full blast.
"I didn't mean-"
"Then what did you mean, D- Gallant, because it sounded like you told me not to spend time with Sett, my friend," Vicky shouted back, cutting off Dean's response. "Should I have left him, running around in Skidmark's territory? Is that the heroic and gallant thing to do when you find a lost, confused cape?"
Oh dear. She'd never actually been there for any of the events that triggered the 'off' state of their eternally changing relationship but she had a feeling she was about to see it for the first time.
"Ah, that's why he was glaring at me," Sett said, hands clapping together in realisation. "Oh dear, should I say something?"
At least he didn't seem particularly offended to Dean attempting to interfere with what could be his only friendship.
"No, you listen! You don't want your girlfriend having any male friends? You know what, fine! That's an easy problem to solve, because your right hand doesn't have any friends at all, you two can get nice and reacquainted because you can fuck right off, playing the gallant knight while being such an insecure little bitch," Vicky shouted, pushing Dean again, with enough force to knock him into the couch, and then over it as he tumbled to the ground. "You know what, you should be insecure. Sett is better than you, better powers, better looking and a better dick, mr two-pump-"
"Vicky! I think that's enough," Sett said awkwardly, making Vicky freeze turning to her friend.
"I'm leaving, you coming home with me?" Vicky asked, flying over to Sett after giving Dean one last vicious glare
"The testing is done and I get the feeling it'd be somewhat… awkward to stick around at this point," Sett said uncomfortably, glancing at where Gallant was being helped up by Vista.
"Good, sorry today got ruined by a jealous asshole," Vicky said viciously, not even looking back at Sett as she grabbed his hand.
She shouldn't let him go, this would leave a bad taste in his mouth and-
"Sett!" Sophia shouted, making Sett pause. "You wanna try out a proper patrol later? I've got a patrol tonight you could tag along on, see this hero thing first hand."
"Huh, am I allowed to do that?" Sett asked, glancing between Sophia and Hannah's
Hannah went to respond but Sophia did first.
"Sure, just register as an independent hero for now, PRT registered independents can join patrols and missions, sh-stuff like that," Sophia said, pausing as everyone who knew her stared at her in shock. "What? You lectured me on this enough after I got- joined," Sophia spat out.
That was true, she just didn't realise Sophia was actually listening.
Getting Sett to register as a PRT-associated hero wouldn't be as good as getting him into the Wards, but it would be a step in the right direction.
"That would work, and as an Independent Hero you wouldn't be tied to it, if you joined a team or the Wards later it would actually save some paperwork," Hannah agreed, giving Sophia a rare proud look, making the younger girl scoff and look away. "We could take care of that while you're here."
"Nice, in that case it's back to the bureaucratic hell and after that I'd love to join you," Sett said, pulling out his phone as Sophia stormed over, pulling her own out as she glared at everyone from behind her mask, daring them to say something as she exchanged details with him.
"I'll send you a message with the time and place, later Sett, Barbie Girl," Sophia said as she stormed past them and out of the room.
"Odd girl, that one," Sett said simply, chuckling as he put his phone away. "Fun though. Now, into the hell that is paperwork, if you wanna go on ahead I don't mind Vicky," Sett said, making Vicky shake her head.
"Nah, I'll keep you company, your emotional support heroine even protects you from paper cuts," Vicky said, having calmed down somewhat.
"Right this way then, it shouldn't take long," Hannah promised, wincing in sympathy as Dean tried to call out to Vicky and got completely ignored.
But honestly, she was kinda annoyed that Dean decided that today was the best time to get jealous over Vicky's new friend, and teenage drama wasn't exactly interesting to her.
Huh, Gallant fucked up and Shadow Stalker managed to salvage the mess?
Director Piggot would probably find that less believable than Scion's appearance.
— Victoria Dallon (Glory Girl) —
As they left the PRT building, she tried to push away her foul mood, not wanting to make things more awkward than they already were.
"So…" Sett said as they started flying, making her sigh.
"Can we not?" Vicky asked simply, well aware that she'd overreacted. Not that Dean was in the right, what got into the idiot?
"Sorry, I didn't mean to cause any problems in your relationship," Sett said, sounding genuinely apologetic as she sighed and landed on a rooftop, Sett following behind as he landed, taking a seat on the edge next to her.
"You did nothing wrong, Gallant is the one that decided now was the best time to go all macho and possessive over this. I have other male friends, I don't know what his problem was," Vicky sighed. "But this isn't on you, we were due for our latest breakup anyway, it's kinda nice not to be the one who fucks up for once."
She knew she felt protective of Sett, which was all the dumber to think after the Scion thing, but she was the one who found him, she convinced him to go to the PRT. She'd been looking forward to introducing him to the Wards and Dean just had to…
She felt responsible for Sett, and she wasn't good at responsibility, she knew that all too well.
"Oh, this happens a lot?" Sett asked, making her nod.
"Give it a month and we'll be back together like nothing ever happened, don't worry about it," Vicky said lifelessly, before cheering herself up. "But enough about my relationship… Shadow Stalker, huh?"
"…she's kinda weird, isn't she?" Sett asked, making Vicky laugh. "She's kinda bitchy, sure, but I think she's trying, and I respect that. Besides, what rose doesn't have a few thorns?"
"That's so cheesy, I'll give you a massage if you use that line on Shadow Stalker," Vicky laughed, happy for a distraction.
"No thanks, she has a crossbow and I'm pretty sure I'm not bolt-proof," Sett replied easily.
"Honestly it's kinda hilarious, I never thought I'd see Shadow Stalker with a crush," Vicky admitted, giving him a look as he blushed slightly and looked away.
He was almost certainly inexperienced with women, which would explain his occasional wandering eyes, while getting embarrassed whenever she brought up the fact that several girls clearly had a thing for him.
"Guess you're popular with the edgy crowd. I bet you already have a dozen goth fangirls hoping to be your virgin sacrifice," Vicky teased, making him roll his eyes.
"Hey, I can't change how I look so I might as well roll with it. Maybe I should make a cult," Sett said sarcastically, making her grin. "At least tonight should be interesting."
The poor bastard didn't realise that hero fan clubs were basically cults already.
"So, you are going to have your patrol date with Shadow Stalker then?" Vicky asked, making him nod despite the roll of his eyes. "Amy is going to be heartbroken, but a single date doesn't mean you two are exclusive~ it'll be good for Amy to have to go after what she wants for once."
"It's not a date, and I still think you're wrong about Amy," Sett replied simply as she grinned
"Oh, how about a bet then. I bet that Shadow Stalker tries to kiss you on your patrol," Vicky said confidently.
"She wears a full face mask," Sett pointed out bluntly.
"She can lift it up, I've seen her do it to eat, and if you're so confident then why don't you take the bet. If she tries to kiss you, I win, if she doesn't, you win," Vicky suggested.
"And what would we win?" Sett asked, making her pause.
"If I win… you have to cook dinner for me for a week," Vicky said, he was so much better than her mom, her dad… didn't cook (or do much to be honest) and the less said about her and Amy's attempts in the kitchen the better.
Sett gave her a weird look, snorting before he nodded.
"Fine, and if I win?" Sett asked as she considered things.
"Hmm, I'll take you on a practice date since you'll probably need the practice given how many girls you're enthralling with your foul demonic ways," Vicky offered, before continuing, unable to resist teasing him. "And who knows, if you do a good job on the practice date… we might just practice what comes after a good date."
Sett's eyes widened slightly in surprise, before he rolled his eyes.
"You're a tease, you know that?" Sett pointed out, making her giggle as she stood up.
"I'd be teasing if I wasn't being serious~" Vicky said flirtatiously, knowing full well she was saying it in part to spite Dean.
"Heh, we'll see. Now let's get going, I want to get back early enough to make dinner. If I'm going to be staying at your house, I want to pull my weight," Sett said with a grin as he rose up, making her go to reply before she paused.
"…you already planned to make dinner, didn't you?" Vicky asked, suddenly understanding why he found her bet funny.
"Yup," Sett said simply as he took to the air.
"Wait, that's not fair! Oi, come back here you sneaky bastard," Vicky shouted as he flew away from her. "I'm changing my bet, I want a massage instead!"
"Nope, too late," Sett called back, making her grin, her mood much better.
"Come on~ I won't even complain if your hands wander as much as your eyes," Vicky shouted, laughing as Sett's smooth flight suddenly became a little more janky as he stalled in the air.
Sett was just fun to tease, and spending time with him made her mood much better than it was before. She'd found something pretty good in that crater.
— Carol Dallon (Brandish) —
The advantage to sending Vicky with him was obvious, beyond her being his friend she was also a massive blabbermouth. It was a minor miracle that she'd hadn't accidentally revealed any of the identities she knew (and let's be honest, people were just pretending that they didn't know about Gallant's identity.)
Over a frankly delicious dinner, a masterpiece made from the simple groceries they had in the house and herbs from his 'Horn of Plenty.'
Even Mark had seemingly enjoyed it, though it was a sign of how little he cared anymore that he didn't even question who Sett was.
And during dinner, Vicky lavished Sett with praise, the results of his testing being laughably beyond what she expected.
She'd expected his healing to be worse than Amy's, likely with side effects, but apparently he had two types of healing so far, neither of which seemed to have any side effects, and his Salvation made the healed person a brute for a day.
And that was just the beginning of the absolutely baffling powers Sett possessed, enough to gain even Scion's attention (all the flying heroes in Brockton Bay had received messages that yes that was Scion hovering far above the city and no they shouldn't go anywhere near him).
Vicky was in a mood, making excuses and leaving quickly after dinner (not before she got saddled with the dishes), apparently going to hang out with some friends. She didn't even need to ask Sett for details to know she'd split up with Dean.
Amy also left for the hospital, apparently there was a pileup caused by the hordes of people coming to the city to try and see Scion. Idiots, treating the strongest Parahuman as a tourist attraction.
Sett was apparently the next Eidolon, who already had a version of Lung's power. Lung, who had on several occasions fought off the entire PRT or Empire.
The best tactic for dealing with Lung was to run away, because while Lung was a brute, he wasn't a fool, using Oni Lee to harass people during the early stages of the fight so he could grow to a size where beating him was no longer viable.
The friendly devil currently reading a book in her living room was a complete powerhouse, a future Triumvirate-level cape.
"What are you trying to learn?" Carol asked, making Sett look up from the strange book.
It was a thick tome, with an animated figure of a… broom with arms carrying a pair of buckets.
"It's a new tome I got, the Tome of Household Magic. It's not useful in combat like my other books, it's just spells and other tricks to make life more convenient," Sett explained with a happy smile.
"Your power is certainly an odd one," Carol said with a shake of her head, bemused at the stuff his Trump power gave him.
"I won't deny that," Sett agreed with a laugh. "Honestly I'm just killing time until Shadow Stalker sends me the meet up location."
Right, his joint-patrol. Completely normal for independents, she did the same with the Protectorate capes but she knew the PRT would be desperate to recruit him.
They would have wanted him no matter what his power was, but with him being so strong and having so much potential? They'd be drooling over him.
She'd said he could join New Wave, if he had a good reason to not want to join the Wards. If she'd know how strong he was-
But she'd look as desperate as the PRT if she changed her mind and asked him to join now, he was nice, but he wasn't a fool, he'd know she just wanted him for his power.
Sett could revive the dying New Wave movement, the same movement that had been on its final legs since Jess was murdered. Sett didn't wear a mask for obvious reasons, with his rapidly rising star he could drag New Wave back into the spotlight, the new figurehead for Cape Accountability.
Maybe then it wouldn't feel like everything they'd done had been for nothing. They got rid of Marquis, and for what? For more gangs, more villains, to take his place. Maybe then it wouldn't feel like Fleur died for nothing.
If he didn't join the Wards, or perhaps even if he did, just keeping a close relationship with him could save New Wave from this rut it had been in for so long.
She barely patrolled anymore, too busy with work since sponsors had gone down as New Wave's fame dwindled, and it wasn't like Mark was working or doing anything anymore. Mark barely cared enough to get dressed normally, let alone go back to being Flashbang.
Amy and Vicky were probably all that was keeping New Wave alive, beyond the fact that the entire group showed up to every Endbringer battle they could.
At least Sarah, Neil and Eric were still somewhat active, although Crystal was more focused on college than her career as Laserdream.
By keeping close proximity with Sett, perhaps helping him avoid some of the pitfalls many young heroes fell into, she'd see New Wave rise alongside him, serving as a mentor figure for him.
She'd offer her services as a lawyer if he did decide to join the Wards, so he got the best possible contract since he was far from a regular Ward.
If he decided to not join them, she'd invite him to join New Wave, perhaps have the basement renovated to be a new bedroom since they weren't using it at the moment anyway.
"Shadow Stalker can be hard to work with, I've not had the pleasure myself but I've certainly heard plenty of complaints about her actions," Carol finally said, making Sett turn to her again.
"Hm, I did get the feeling she's a bit… prickly, but I think I impressed her. Besides, I actually have rather thick skin, I can handle her being a bit bitchy without losing my cool," Sett said easily, making her nod approvingly. Keeping control of your emotions was an important trait for heroes.
"You're going to have to get a proper costume soon, and you'll likely need one made of tinkertech materials if you don't want to end up naked after every fight," Carol said, rubbing her chin. "The PRT should be able to help with that, you aren't the first cape who has had this particular issue, but it'll be expensive if you're not a member."
"Another point to joining the Wards, I suppose," Sett said, making her nod. She wasn't sure what she wanted, but she couldn't deny that the PRT had better resources than New Wave.
As he went to speak again, his phone beeped, making him pause as he let go of the book, her eyes widening slightly as it disappeared into motes of blue light.
"Looks like it's time, this should be interesting. I'll see you later, Mrs Dallon," Sett said as he rose, her doing the same as she grabbed something.
"At this point you can just call me Carol, and take this. I don't know what time you'll be getting back, so take a key with you," Carol said, handing him the spare house key.
It was a show of trust she would not normally do, but oddly enough she did mostly trust Sett, even without the potential he represented for New Wave.
"Ah, good thinking, thanks!" Sett said cheerfully, giving her a smile as he waved his hand, a rift forming in the air.
Around the size of a double-doorway, with a blue glow around the edges, it served as a window to another place, a rooftop in the docks from what she could see.
Her eyes widened in shock as Sett waved, stepping through the hole in space, and she could see Shadow Stalker on the other side, standing on the rooftop. She couldn't see the younger girl's expression but she could certainly imagine it, it probably looked a little something like hers as the portal closed behind him.
Did his power just casually give him what seemed to be a pretty strong mover rating, after his power testing?
It hadn't been a couple of hours and already the PRT's information was out of date, that was simply how much potential Sett had. They'd probably have heart attacks when Shadow Stalker reported that. depending on its range that could be a massive force multiplier.
Her house was nowhere near the docks after all, and the ability to instantly transport capes around the city was massive, even more so if the range was even further than city-wide.
It was honestly humbling to see, because that alone would make someone a valuable and sought after cape, and yet to Sett it was just an afterthought, something he hadn't deemed worth mentioning.
She needed a drink.
— Sett —
"Is that why you wanted a picture?" Shadow Stalker asked, making me nod.
"Yup, new power. I can make portals to anywhere I know the terrain of, and using a picture makes it much easier to do," I admit easily, because I find it funny that the PRT are going to realise they're already out of date. "So, how are we doing this?"
I looked into the rules for Independents before I signed up. If an independent joins a PRT mission or patrol then they'd be expected to defer to the Protectorate capes.
It makes sense to me, no matter how strong they are you can't just have some independent cape show up and take over, there's a chain of command and the PRT is basically a super-powered military from what I've seen.
I also got access to a number I can call for both regular police and the PRT, to pick up arrested thugs and capes, so that's nice.
"This patrol route is mostly safe, most of it is in Merchant territory and they're jokes, unless Squealer has built another killdozer, and even then they crashed the last one into the river, so between the two of us we shouldn't have any trouble. It also goes along the edge of ABB territory but Lung and Oni Lee shouldn't show up," Shadow explained, clearly knowing her stuff. "We'll run into some petty crime, we always do, but this should be a pretty simple patrol."
I kinda hope it isn't, combat equals rolls after all.
"Heh, especially because of that guy," Shadow scoffed, gesturing upwards.
Looking up, I can barely see Scion floating high above the city, unmoving.
"Most of the villains are hiding, they don't know why he's here and don't want him to squash them like a bug," Shadow laughed. "Of course, the PRT are shitting themselves too. They don't know why he's still here either and don't like powerful capes that they can't control."
"Oh, they're worried? Hm, I'll go ask him what's up," I say, making her gasp as I open another portal and fly though it before she can respond.
Appearing in front of him, he opens his golden eyes, tilting his head at the sight of me.
"You have strange powers," Scion says simply, looking at the still open portal behind me. "They are unknown to me."
"I know, fun right? Anyway, you're kinda making the locals panic, so do you mind me asking what you're doing up here?" I ask, making him turn back to me.
"Remembering," Scion says after a long pause. "Thinking."
"Oh, about what?" I ask, making him pause again.
"My… wife, she is gone," Scion admits, his normally blank tone coloured by grief. "Remembering her doesn't hurt as much now, I was thinking about her, about her… goals. She would have liked your… Salvation."
"I'm sorry for your loss," I say sincerely, making him pause again before he nods.
"I am deciding what to do now. You are becoming a hero, why?" Scion asked, making me blink. "This world is fleeting, everything you save will be gone eventually, why bother?"
That's a grim outlook.
"Well, you said that thinking about your wife hurts, right?" I ask, making him nod. "Wouldn't you have liked a hero to save her? Every person we save, saves their loved ones from the pain you're feeling."
Scion doesn't respond to my awkward explanation, because I can't exactly say I'm doing this for pulls, waiting what seems like ages before he replies.
"…I see," Scion says. "Can you bring her back?"
"I do not know your powers. Can you bring someone back?" Scion asks, making me pause.
Can Order magic restore the dead?
The Tome of Exaltation (Legendary) and the Tome of the God-Emperor (Mythical) both contain spells capable of restoring the dead.
As do many other Tomes from other schools..
"I think so, or my power does at least. I can't yet, my power needs to grow more, I need to get stronger, but in time I think I could," I say, making his eyes widen ever so slightly.
"You will do so?" Scion asks with more intensity than I've ever heard from him, and I feel like there is only one reply that won't have me disintegrated.
"I will," I agree, making him nod.
"I see, I will… wait. I will depart, but first wish to feel the light again," Scion says, making me nod as I reach out and call on my magic.
The light from Salvation engulfs him once more, this time he lets out a small sigh as it does so, nodding as I pull back.
"I will return," Scion says again, a flash of gold blinding me for a moment before it clears and I'm left alone in the night sky.
[Become an Independent Hero and achieve your first heroic action]
Let's fucking go!
Yeah, I cheered up a fellow hero and I guess that's a heroic action, I knew me and Scion were going to get along great.
Nice rolls are caused by the d100 used to roll landing upon 69.
My creator is a child.
Result: Nice Magic
[Tome of Eromancy (Sex Affinity)]
Result: Mythical Summon, Pet
The mythical immortal flame bird, being born again in their ashes. The tears of this bird can cure almost any wound and in combat its powerful talons and flames will burn away your enemies. Its song invigorates its allies and demoralises its enemies.
Scion is my good luck charm.
Immediately summoning my Phoenix, I freeze as it appears. Okay, I was picturing the bird from Harry Potter.
As I look at the massive bird, lighting up the night sky with its flames, easily big enough for me to use as a mount with a couple of friends along for the ride, I clap my hands together as it bows its head to me.
I will definitely bring back Scion's girl, he deserves it for all the luck he's brought me.
— Sophia Hess (Shadow Stalker) —
She'd had the foresight to turn on her mask's camera, something Armsmaster made, catching the conversation between Scion and Sett and sending it to the Console.
"You get that, Clock?" Sophia asked quietly as Sett summoned a fucking monster of a bird, clapping as he grinned. Another gift from his utterly bullshit power.
"I did, already told the bosses that Sett decided to approach him. Fuck, Watchdog are gonna have a field day with this one," Clock said, unusually serious.
Sett returned to her, the bird vanishing for now as he landed, making her stop the broadcasting and make her decision.
"He's heading off, your bosses can stop panicking," Sett said with a casualness that demonstrated the sheer size of his balls.
"Sett, I want in," Sophia said bluntly, making him pause and blink as he tilted his head in confusion.
"With what?" Sett asked, confused.
"With you, with whatever you are doing. I want to join you," Sophia said bluntly, her mind made up.
Sett didn't quite fit into her mindset, he had the strength of a predator but lacked the edge, but now she understood.
Sett was a fucking apex predator, he was a fucking t-rex joining this world of wolves and sheep. He didn't need to act tough, he could do whatever he wanted, act however he wanted, because he was at the top of the food chain and nobody could tell him otherwise.
She was a predator, but she was laughably small-time compared to him, and while that angered her at first, she had considered things and came to a conclusion, the best thing she could do was join his pack.
"Look, I don't know if you're going to join the Wards, stay independent or shit you could go villain for all I care, I want to join you. You're the biggest fish in this pond, I want to get in early," Sophia explained, making Sett pause. "Look, I'll be blunt. Say yes and you're my new boss, you go villain I'll go with you, you stay as a hero and I'll be your fucking sidekick. You say the word and I'll do whatever you want."
"Why? What do you get out of this?" Sett asks, making her laugh.
"Because in this shitty world, power is all that really matters, and you're probably gonna end up running the place if you keep growing like this. I'm just trying to get in early, you join the Wards, you'll have Armsmaster's job the moment you graduate to the Protectorate and you'll be up there with the Triumvirate shortly after, you become a villain you'll take the place over I'm no time," Sophia said confidently. "You're strong enough to get whatever the fuck you want, and my best chance in this fucked world is to get in good with you. So I'm offering my services, my loyalty," Sophia continued.
"Just like that?" Sett asked, making her pause.
"You don't think I'm serious? I am," Sophia said, reaching up and taking her mask off. "My name is Sophia Hess, I'm only in the Wards because they made me join after I left some Empire scumbag pinned to the wall with a crossbow bolt, he bled out and I had to become a Ward to get out of a juvie charge," she admitted.
— Sett —
Staring at Sophia, I honestly believe she's serious about her offer.
"You'll do anything I ask?" I ask, making her nod and roll her eyes.
"Lemme guess, you're thinking about fucking me?" Sophia asks, making me pause.
"… Well I am now," I admit, looking at the pretty dark-skinned girl who just offered to be my servant.
"Look, you want proof? You can fuck me right here on this shitty rooftop, I mean it, I want in. You know I put the idea of you and Glory Girl in Gallant's head? I know you want her, you can't keep your eyes off her, I decided to help you get her," Sophia admits, my eyes widening as I pause. "I can help a lot, just give me a chance."
I want to be angry that she messed with my friend's relationship, but she isn't wrong. I do want Vicky.
Sophia isn't a nice person, so wouldn't I be doing the world a favour by giving her a firm hand? A large part of Order is about redemption, guiding lost souls, shouldn't I take Sophia and try to make her better?
[Gain your first servant]
[Satisfy your Lust]
Tame your curse of lust, turning it from a drawback to a strength.
Objective: Have sex with five different capes.
Objective: Have sex a total of 50 times.
Optional Objectives: Have sex with three girls at once. Have sex with two sisters. Have sex with a mother and daughter pair.
Reward: Minor Curse of Lust evolves into a perk. 1 Pull.
Optional Rewards: 1 nice pull for every optional objective completed
I think my system has an opinion on this because those objectives would be easier with Sophia on my side.
Result: Uncommon Item, Consumable
System Note, Consumable Items respawn once used, the time depending upon the rarity of the item.
Potion of Growth
This potion causes the drinker to grow in size, until they are twice as large as they started. This increases their strength and durability accordingly, and lasts for four hours.
Huh, neat. An uncommon rarity consumable respawns three days after use, so I don't have to hoard it like I would in a game.
Rest in peace, Skyrim chest filled with so many potions it broke my game when I opened it.
"You have yourself a deal, Sophia, and as tempting as it is to take you up on your… offer to test your loyalty, we have a patrol to do," I say, making her nod with a smirk on her pouty lips as she puts her mask back in place.
"Got it, let's get to work, boss," Sophia says, and I can't deny I enjoy that.
— Bonus Scene — Lisa Wilbourn (Tattletale) —
Her boss was having a bad day, which naturally meant that she was having a fantastic day because fuck that guy.
She already knew why, his power wasn't working correctly- she'd picked up on that much from their clipped conversation.
Sett, the new Case 53, was a blindspot to thinkers. Coil couldn't use his power property because while it worked, it couldn't simulate Sett and therefore the final simulations would be faulty.
For someone like her, that wasn't a major problem, as long as she wasn't trying to read Sett himself (yes she'd tried and she got exactly nothing, it was like her power didn't even want to admit he was there), but for someone like Coil?
It'd actually been the push to help her work out what his power was, and highly amused her by how badly Sett was fucking with his plans.
He was pissed because he made his perfect simulation, and somewhere along the way he ran into the changes Sett had caused which ruined his plans.
It wasn't just Sett himself, Coil was running into trouble because anything Sett interacted with would no longer be following the actions they took in Coil's simulation, his 'timelines'.
So Coil couldn't trust any of his timelines, even if there wasn't another massive blindspot currently floating over the city.
Normally Coil would respond to such an inconvenience with lethal force, uncaring for the rules, but not this time.
How the fuck would he assassinate Scion, and who knows how Scion would react if Sett died before he could come back like he'd promised. She'd seen that recording, but hadn't been able to work anything out with two blindspots involved.
But that wasn't it, Coil was scared, he'd been told by someone much stronger that killing Sett wasn't permitted. Her boss had a boss of his own, and they had him by the balls.
That made her feel all tingly inside, and led to her current orders.
See, Coil couldn't kill Sett, for multiple reasons (not least of which was because Demon Lung wasn't a statement that filled anyone with confidence over their chances), but he could try to manipulate where Sett would be to minimise the amount of disruption he'd cause.
When Coil wanted to act, he needed to arrange for Sett to be elsewhere, so it was her job to learn as much about him and possibly try to manipulate the demon to be away from Coil's most important schemes.
Worst case, use the Undersiders to play bait for the very strong cape and hope they could pull off the escapes they were known for, leading him on a wild goose chase to keep him busy.
It was like he didn't know she wanted him dead.
She'd play along, for now, but Coil had exposed a weakness and she'd almost be insulting him if she didn't take advantage of it.
Author's Note: Ah Dean, you exist to be dumped and cucked. Sorry dude, perhaps you shouldn't have had a hot girlfriend but that was really on you.
Shadowslayer: 69, 4 (Nice Magic)
Musashi the Samurai Cheem: 94, 7, 2 (Mythical Summon, Pet)
Kragh: 48, 2, 1 (Uncommon Item, Consumable)
STOP ROLLING MYTHICAL YOU FUCKS.
My readers have bullshit luck.
Also go read Musa's fics for blessing the story with a mythical pet.
I am entirely motivated by praise and interaction, so leave a review and I'll probably write faster.
I have a discord server (technically someone else's but my name is on the server so it's basically mine) with a bunch of other authors and a load of porn. Here's the link for that: discord .gg/wd3tUYWVCd
If it says it's expired, add my (The Pumpkin King#1234) and I'll invite you myself.
I've finally started to use my pat reon for something, mostly I've just added some discord integration so that my pat reons can read early previews of chapters. This won't affect regular posting, but if you wanna read my works a day or two early then consider checking it out
Link: Pat reon. com/TheDarkWolfShiro