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Prologue

"I guess… I guess it's over." I shouted out. As people  expect , I was born, I studied, then married ... well, except for the marriage part.

As usual, I was walking along the icy sidewalk in the evening, when I slipped, fell, and planted my head on an iron pin carefully left by our utilities in place of the next archaeological excavations. Now, here I am, hanging (or dangling?) in endless emptiness and trying to figure out what's next.

"God, if you exist, answer me one question. Why did you create this world? This is hell... What is it for? God? Hey?!"

There was a voice from the void.

"There is no God. I am its replacement."

"Oh… And who are you? " I called into the void, unsuccessfully trying to at least see something in the space around me.

"Me?” A pause, considering. “.. Let's just say, I am a Being of the highest order, whose greatness you are simply not able to realize."

"Yeah ... And what do you want …Being?"

"Do not be brazen," declared the ethereal voice, in which I could feel a note of irritation. "To put it simply, I looked at your life, and decided that you are suitable for me. You will be a pawn in my game."

"What does that even mean? And why would I just... I don’t  like this idea you propose. I refuse."

"I do not require permission. I will take your soul and place it into my figure, than you shall act on your own."

"On my own? What I need to do?"

"What to do? You must Conquer! Proudly and mercilessly! I think you will succeed."

At this moment, our dialogue ended. And as for me, my mind was covered by darkness.

Chapter 1: Naruto

I woke up hungry. To be honest, in my previous life I had been hungry, but I never experienced such a comprehensive and all-consuming feeling of hunger. Now I really wake up, it seemed like even chewing bricks was a pretty good idea. When I came to myself a little, I remembered my death, my conversation with the unexpected benefactor, and began to look around in an attempt to understand where I had been led.

"I don’t understand something, am I in a slum or in a pigsty?" I wondered aloud.

No one was in a hurry to answer me, so I went to examine my body. How to describe?

Thin human boy at age about seven, with slightly underdeveloped muscles. Gender male, my sexual orientation at this age did not matter. I once again examined the small room littered with all kinds of rubbish and dirt. Yes, littered with dirt, in which places have become deposits of garbage.

So, well, in general, the disposition is clear. I need to get out of here and go look for something to eat, after then I will see what to do. By the way, If this is a game, can there be levels here?

"Status!” I called out, as if to test the stimulations of the game. “Player window, I call the system! Specifications!" Something is not working. Well, it doesn’t matter. What’s there to eat?

A search of the apartment revealed the refrigerator, and one pack of custard noodles in it. Next to it was a sink with dirty dishes and a dirty electric stove with a kettle. Well, at least some civilization is present here.

Quickly sacrificing noodles to my internal demon, I headed to the bathroom, where I saw a filthy mirror.

"Ta-a-ak …" what I saw was very familiar face.

In the mirror, a boy looked at me with spiky blond hair, clear blue eyes and clearly visible horizontal stripes on his cheeks, like the whiskers of a cat. No, not a cat, a fox! I knew that boy!

"I'm in Naruto’s body!”

As soon as this name had popped into my head, a stream of childhood memories hit me. Yes, now I understand why there’s so much trash. The child settled in a separate apartment at five years old. And now I'm eight years old, and I'm going to study at the Ninja Academy tomorrow, where I have to fool around for five years.

What did this Being tell me? What do I need to conquer? What do I need to do? And why? No, I’ll go some other way. My own way. But first, I wanted to go look for what else there is to eat. My acquired memory suggests that the monthly allowance will be given me just tomorrow evening after class, and now I don't have a penny of money. The noodle pack was an inviolable store, which my predecessor had saved, literally tearing it away from the heart.

No remnants of another's consciousness were found in my head. Only fragments of memory, slightly settled in back of my mind. However, how much of this eight year old kid's memory do I have? The main thing is the knowledge of the language and surroundings. And then we'll figure it out. Moreover, the canon of this story is pretty familiar to me.

It was early morning outside, but there were plenty of people around. Everybody was in a hurry, but everyone considered it their duty to viciously glance in my direction.

All right, hold me seven gods! I will raze this village to the ground for such glances. I bellowed, "Shinra Tensei!" Silence. Nothing happened. I stood there, posed like an idiot for three whole seconds.

Damn, it didn't work. But I'll remember those looks.

Exploring of my village brought me to a simple thought: if you cannot earn, steal, if you cannot steal, die.

My stomach ached from the hunger. My belly twisted in such a way that I walked the sinusoid from one metal post to the other, trying to keep myself up. Where is my chakra?

"Kyuubi, hello?! If you don't share the chakra now, then I'll fall off my feet and die.”

I sent a hungry glance to the running rat. Dammit! I’m the future Hokage! So, it's time to impose a tribute from my future vassals. I orientated on the ground and wandered towards Ichiraku-ramen. Naruto sometimes ate there using coupons, but they gave out only five of them a month.

"Hello, Teuchi-san."

"Hello, Naruto-kun. Come to eat?"

"No. The Hokage stole all my money, so the maximum that my finances can afford is to smell your ramen from a distance of a few meters."

"What are you saying, Naruto-kun? Hokage could not steal anything from you."

"Yeah. That is why, out of the five thousand ryo allowance that I must receive, I receive only two thousand every month. And I don't care if the Hokage personally stole the money, or it was taken by one of his henchmen on a personal assignment. I get the money in the Hokage's Office, and he is personally responsible for what happens there."

Naruto realized that he was being cheated when he was six years old. But by that time, the cashier-clerk was already accustomed to a permanent salary increase, and therefore simply put the boy before the fact - or he will sign the document and took what they give, or he wouldn’t  get anything. A three-day hunger strike forced the kid to agree with such lawlessness.

Teuchi shook his head and set a large cup of noodles in front of me, I could smell the roasted pork. I was drooling profusely.

"Take this, Naruto. This is a gift."

"Thank you, Teuchi-san" I thanked as my head was falling before the divine nectar. After only a few minutes, the noodles with meat migrated to my stomach, which finally croaked and began to digest the offering. "When I become the Hokage, I shall exempt you and your heirs from taxes." I declared seriously. Teuchi just smiled at such a statement.

"And those who will steal from orphans, I will burn them alive in the main square of Konoha." The eyes of my interlocutor widened, and the smile faded. "All the best for you."

I jumped off the seat and ran down the street toward the cliff on which the faces of the four Hokage were carved. I spent the whole day sitting on the top of the Hashirama Senju head, since climbing here was no problem. There was a small observation platform to which a narrow staircase led into the almost vertical stone wall led to the serpentine.

The result of my thinking was an unambiguous conclusion - it is necessary to bring them down. And not where, but to whom. In a sense, all. All of them! Why do I need this mess with the wars of shinobi and all kinds of Akatsuki? If I am planning to conquer like the Being suggested, then I will do it in a big way. I will kill them all, no one will stay alive. But in order to achieve the desired result, I need to master local magic, that is, chakra. Fortunately, I have knowledge from Earth, where the Chinese, Hindus, Jews, and Indians have dug up a lot about the development of internal forces, and then laid it all out on the Internet.

Some may say that I am not the smartest person. If someone came up with an invention, then the locals may have already invented it. In this world there were not such bullshit conversations - like universal equality of everyone. Nobody can just come up with anything just like that, it comes from years of research. For example, knowledge of the chakras came from India, and in Europe there was nothing like that. The same with banal qi, cabalism or nuclear physics. Without long centuries of research, such knowledge can not appear. In this world, no academic research is conducted. But lone scientists, like Orochimaru, are hunt down by the whole world of shinobi. So my stock of knowledge from where I come gives me a great advantage.

The next day I went to the academy, where three hours of my time were spent ineptly on listening to the Hokage's speech, and an even longer and more tedious speech by Iruka. Naturally they rattled on about the Will of Fire, and therefore they did not contain any useful information. Pure propaganda. It is baby talk in comparison with the American brainwashing propaganda. So I focused more on the environment, on my classmates in particular. What can be said about them? They're children. Only Sasuke Uchiha and Neji Hyuga tried to behave seriously. The rest talked, acted like apes, and exchanged papers, despite all the efforts of Iruka to establish order.

As soon as the introductory lesson ended, everyone immediately ran home. As for me, I went to inspect the park adjacent to the school grounds. There was a lot of mini-training grounds for future shinobi ninjas, and there was a good track around the park, which had a herd of second-class students running on it. I could even recognized Rock Lee among them, who had not yet acquired his famous corporative green suit.

Having found a quiet corner in the bushes, I began to meditate, trying to feel the chakra within me. Today I had seen several times the use of different jutsu, and even something as simple as moving chakra felt hard. In my condition, where my stomach is trying to digest me from the inside, it was much easier to get rid of the material. I began training as in the Brazilian system. Either you concentrate on the spiritual, or you experience the wild torments of the material. In general, the technique turned out to be successful, and after couple hours I was able to feel the flow of energy in myself. But no matter how hard I tried, I failed to manage this energy. Well...no reason to be sad, after all Rome was not built in one  day.

Having reached the desired state of brutality, I went to the Office of the Hokage, where I shouted to the cashier-clerk loud screams. I told him that if he continues to steal my money, then  as soon as I became a genin, the first thing which I will do is to release his guts and then use them to suspend all his relatives to death. The degree of inadequacy in my voice reached such magnitudes that an ANBU in mask immediately appeared next to me and was immediately forced to be a witness of the process of the money payment to me. Under direct observation, the clerk did not dare to deceive me, and gritting his teeth gave me all the money I deserved to the last penny.

In the evening I had a feast, which I spent almost five hundred ryo on - one-tenth of the monthly allowance. Or a quarter of what my predecessor survived on. At the same time, I did not shovel food down my throat, but instead ate slowly and thoughtfully chewed the purchased provisions. But even so, the hunger disappeared only after I had completely cleaned out the fridge, which I had filled to full capacity. Maybe this is my reflex? The motto of a typical student: never leave for tomorrow what you can eat today; and never do today what you can do tomorrow.

The next month I dedicated to training. Actually, is  it even possible to call it training when it was only two hours of running every morning before studying? Then there were four hours of classes, and the last two lessons I steadily skipped, going to the park I already knew. The last classes were usually history, mathematics and calligraphy. I was not interested in all these subjects, and therefore I preferred more useful lessons.

All the rest of my free time I was meditating. I went through all the practices known to me, trying to find something that would give the best result. And I must say, the results were. Within a week, I was able to concentrate the chakra in the Ajna-chakra area, and then materialize it in the outside world. It was a sort of teleportation of energy. I think about the same principle uses Uchiha's eye work when they inject energy into the brains of victim by genjutsu. I also tried to transfer energy through my eye, but the effectiveness of this was almost zero, not to mention the strain on the organs of vision.

I could use the chakra primarily for telekinesis. The efficiency of this method was small, but I was quite able to lift a leaf or a branch. Attempts to control bodily energy with Qi were not very good. No, the result was, but the chakra, located in the channels of my physical body, moved very reluctantly. Seems, long workouts were required to develop this entire system. And I, frankly, was lazy. I did not want to jump and run around the village in the name of the Springtime. Why spend five years by running when I can reach such result by using Third Eye? And I'm not exaggerating.

I think the local ninjas from childhood develop exactly the way to release the chakra through the physical body. And this method is in conflict with the use of the Third Eye. As a result, most shinobi in general are incapable of mental control of magical energy. And those who do this, for example, Yamanaka and Nara, can not boast of outstanding physical abilities. So I decided to follow the path of a pure mage, not trying to pretend to be a paladin or a combat priest. I think morning jogging is enough for me to maintain normal physical fitness. And the rest of the time need to spend on spiritual development.

Naturally, no one showed to me any Ninjutsu techniques, and it's quite difficult to invent something from scratch. Therefore, I decided to "pump" only one skill - the transfer of energy over a distance and... reading information using this energy. This was achieved simply by meditating, concentrating on some object and trying to "realize" the essence of this object. After another month I was able to quite clearly determine the chemical composition of any object, its shape, size, softness, density, and so on.

The next step was the "study" of living creatures. Or even those that weren't quite alive. because the first experimental birds and rats immediately kicked off the buckets, when I start focus on them. Ones could consider this a success and a mega-bun, the skill of the one hundredth level "The Look of Death", this unique skill acted only on beings who do not have their own chakra circulation system. Ordinary people didn't even notice about it, let alone the Shinobi.

Apart from that, life entered the groomed rut, and nothing special or outstanding ever happened to me. The daily classes gave their results, and after half a year I was able to learn how to penetrate in the mind of other people. It only worked on ordinary people, but just this could be considered as a success. At first, I naturally wanted to learn how to kill with a look, but, remembering my plan, I did not allow myself to be niggled and continued to develop only one ability - reading information.

My goal was simple - to learn to read the thoughts of shinobi in order to pull out all the secrets, techniques and places of stash storage from their heads. By the way, the latter have become my constant source of income. I looked through the memories of passers-by, and if I found out that they kept money in the recesses outside the apartment, then I went and cleaned up a similar "bank cell". Surprisingly, the storage of money not in banks, but in hoards and hoops was rather widespread. But I don't need much. Only on food and clothing. True, I eat ten times more than an adult man of two meters tall, but I'm growing up. Also I have a demon sitting in me. Apparently, he eats just for those nine. By the number of tails.

In addition to the directional scan, my exercises developed a common sensory, so I began to feel the presence of chakra sources in the victims. These were both shinobi or fuin-seals. I have sometimes investigated the latter, but especially I did not go deep into fuinjutsu. Not least because I couldn't get at seal art with a swoop.

But I learned to feel the presence of a observer from ANBU. Those watched me from time to time, mainly during my morning runs and trips around the city. Apparently, my meditations did not cause much excitement to the overseers. No one in all this time even asked me a question, like, "What are you doing here, eh?"

Another epochal event in my life was the ‘Massacre of Uchiha’. Just so, with a capital letter. Because in the village after that arose big boiling, and even I had to stop gutting local merchants for a couple of weeks, because ANBU went after me, not hiding, from morning to evening, and then they were on duty all night under windows. But after a couple of weeks, the propulsion stopped, and Konoha returned to state of a rotting swamp.

Relationships with classmates at changing evolved none. Well, what could be the common interests of the adult, in future the Hokage and juvenile criminal thugs? So I had more or less close relations only with Nara Shikamaru, with whom we agreed on the basis of laziness and attitudes towards lessons. Both he and I could answer almost any question from the teacher, but in most cases did not see any need for this.

After the death of the clan, Sasuke began to behave like a wild animal, waiting for an opportunity to bite the hand that would decide to stroke it. I did not climb to him, but I answered all his pfikas and hooks with complete moral knock down. Still, adult consciousness and experience provide much more opportunities to expose a juvenile idiot also as a mere dumbass. From this, Sasuke become just angrier, but for a while, he stopped even looking in my direction, which is what I wanted.

The beginning of the second year of my stay in the world of shinobi was marked by the first significant breakthrough. At last, I became able to penetrate the consciousness of a Shinobi. More precisely, in the consciousness of a young shinobi larvae - my classmate. The reason for my previous failures was banal: in order to consider the thoughts of shinobi, I only need to put him into an unconscious state. For example, put to sleep.

At the next lesson in history, which was distinguished by a hefty tediousness, I noticed that Inuzuka Kiba was brazenly sleeping, hiding behind a book from a teacher. Due to boredom, I decided to use my ability to scan the mind, where possible I tried not to shine in the presence of shinobi. And suddenly, I could easily penetrate into the consciousness of the dog owner and view his today actions.

Realizing the emerging prospects, I began to train hard in the gutting of other people's brains, while at the same time looking for places where most often I could meet the dormant shinobi. A week later I was happy owner of a decent amount of knowledge on the use of ninjutsu, and engaged in the analysis and classification of this information. Of course, most of the knowledge of shinobi related to the use of chakra using hand seals and the chakra circulation system, but some of jutsu they performed on pure control, and this was only one step before using the energy of the Third Eye.

Now I trained not only in scanning other people's brains, but also in basic techniques. Henge, Bunshin, Kawarimi - all these techniques were in fact quite complicated, but the shinobi’s  used them without thinking about the content. Fold the seals, add energy in a right sequence, and 'voila' - the trick worked. Of course, I could also repeat this, but besides that, I had much better control over the process of using jutsu, and therefore I could understand the principles of its work.

I spent the entirety of my second year under the motto "Learn, learn, and learn again." I developed my ability to penetrate into another's consciousness, breaking the procedure into two stages. At the beginning, I put a completely imperceptible seal-mark on the victim's body, and then at night I waited for fall asleep, and gutted long awaited memories. I could put a mark from a distance of ten meters, without any circus, as waving arms and fingers. And for reading the information, the further distance between me and the victim did not matter at all. The only drawback of this technique was that the 'mark' saved its integrity for no more than a day. But so far standing is quite enough for me.

For a year, I was able to mentally gut almost all the strong shinobi of the village, including Hiruzen, Kakashi and Danzo. I only saw the last one once, and during the mark's validity he only slept for a couple of hours, but this was enough for me to figure out what kind of person he is, what his goals and methods of solving problems are. Even there was no time to look at the techniques used by him, because Danzo, for me, was the greatest threat to me. If he had only suspected me of the ability to read the thoughts of others, he would have destroyed me in the very same day, regardless of consequences.

After a couple of months, I finally took up working out normal ninjutsu. The first interesting discovery was that when I using the Yin-Chakra, it was possible to transform it into any element without restrictions. It was the Yin-Chakra that I used in my technique of working through the Third Eye. But the Yang-chakra remained in the body, further enhancing my bias towards the Yang-components. I had to train more and the ability to "drop" the extra Yang-chakra from the body. At the same time, my control was almost zero, so this chakra simply dissipated in space, making me literally shine in the eyes of the sensors.

In general, from combat ninjutsu I mastered the weak techniques of the basic "elements" - fire, water, earth, air and lightning. Of course, these were no elements, but simply ways of visualizing the effects of the chakra on the physical world. Even "creating" the new element was only to focus the mind on its "manifestation", and then make the chakra manifest with the same special effects. That is, if desired, the shinobi could master the "elements" of sound, steam, gravity, radiation, light, darkness, shadow, and even a devil in a mortar.

There was only one problem - the ability of the body flow the chakra, which has the necessary properties. If a person did not have an "inclination" to the corresponding element, his body rather quickly collapsed when trying to apply the appropriate technique. This, by the way, explained how talented shinobi could take possession of all the elements, not having a predisposition towards them. Long-term daily workouts increased the body's resistance and its regeneration. After that, all that remained was to learn how to apply the element with the help of the Yin-Chakra and gradually move to using the Yang-Chakra.

I could transform the Yin-Chakra into the necessary element in the Ajna-chakra, and immediately teleport it to the outside world, giving it the necessary configuration for one thing. As long as the chakra maintained a resonance with my mind, I could freely control it. And constantly feeding the chakra-construct with new portions of energy, it was possible to maintain this synchronization for a long time.

After mastering the basic techniques, I swung at the most delicious of the shadow clones available to me. The only problem was that creating them required a large number of Yang components. Without it, the clones emerged as ethereal, albeit capable of "independent" activity. To be more precise, the clones did not have any consciousness. There was used a much more cunning trick called... schizophrenia.

Exactly! When creating a clone, subpersonality was created in the mind of shinobi, which control the actions of his projection. And when the technique was interrupted, the virtual "barrier" between personalities dissipate, and their memories became accessible to the "original". When I understood this technology, I was neighing for a long time. After all, the canon Naruto's constant use of many clones so crushed his mind that the main person turned out to be extremely stupid, which, in combination with mental bookmarks, turned him into a translator of the positive and Will of Fire. Here is an explanation of why the red loser was actually presented such a valid technique.

After a month of experiments, I spat on the original technique and remade it for myself. Now they were illusory shadow clones. They almost did not interact with physical objects, but they could freely use ninjutsu. Their own chakra reserve was small, but they could constantly be fed from me. And most importantly, the resulting subpersonality was not completely autonomous. I could observe each clone in real time, give out "valuable instructions" or completely seize control.

It was through my clones that I worked out all the techniques, conducted experiments, and even found sleeping shinobis in order to delve into their brains. Of course, the illusory clones were quite detectable for the sensors or Hyuga, but I tried to make sure that all their activities were as far away as possible from me. And because of the presence of only Yin components in the clones, their energetics did not resemble mine at all, so I was not afraid that someone would connect mysterious ghosts and jinchuuriki, surrounded by aura with an admixture of the Nine-Tailed Fox's Chakra.

By the way, about the fox. Kurama aka Kyuubi did not give any signs of life. He just regularly supplied me with his acid-like chakra. However, I had managed to subjugate the Yang aspect of chakra and direct it to the regeneration of my body. By this, I don't mean that I learned to move it around, but in the sense that now this chakra was performing some useful work, for once. Moreover, the shift of the body to a mode "chakra-consuming" significantly reduced my needs for food. Instead of a meaningless transfer of products to energy, I now spent the same products on the development of muscles, strengthening bones and so on. In fact, I achieved the dream of all Nara - to develop the body not by physical exercises, but by relaxing meditations, lying on the grass and watching the clouds!

By the beginning of the third year of study, I could already call myself a professor of chakra sciences. At least the variety of jutsu available to me in diversity was such that the God of Shinobi Hiruzen next to me turned into a minor aphid. But in terms of combat effectiveness, I did not reach even the level of genin. The whole thing was that the only ability that I had been training for a long time had no combat use, since I only acted on the sleeping ones. And all the other techniques required considerable concentration and heaps of time to prepare for use. Now, if I learned only a couple of the most effective techniques, the result would have been different. But why do I need this? I need to win not at the expense of training, but at the expense of the correct use of the brain.

What is the most important thing for a beginner ninja? Of course, super cool techniques. Having even one such technique and having worked it up to automatism, you can bend all those around you... if only they do not have their own super cool technique. If we consider canon Naruto’s clones. If you even a chunin with twenty years of experience, but a thousand clones can stumble you to the state of bloody minced meat, just because you can not kill them all, and get tired before they run out.

I was going to stop all shinobi wars, all these political squabbles and frauds. But unlike my protagonist, I decided to use a much more realistic approach. The best means of preserving peace is nuclear weapons. Not as a deterrent measure. Namely, as a result of its direct use for its intended purpose. If I destroy all the enemy villages, then it is possible for thirty years, or even  fifty, not to fear their attack. And there, you see, it will be possible to seize power in the whole world and rule yourself quietly to a very old age.

So, with another goal, I decided. Now it remains a trifle - to create a nuclear weapon. And here I can boast of "secret knowledge" about the design of a nuclear and thermonuclear bomb. I decided to engage in the second, because much less radiation appeared from it, the power of the explosion was much higher, and besides, it was not necessary to search for uranium deposits.

What do I know about mining uranium? Nothing. Complete zero. Now, if someone brings it to me, then I can already try to enrich it and turn it into a bomb, the benefit having chakra always at hand. But if you do not bring, you will have to run like a fool around the world in search of something incomprehensible. After all, I have no sample of uranium.

Let's get technical details. With a thermonuclear bomb everything is much easier. Its base is lithium deuteride six. At sufficient temperature and pressure, with neutron irradiation, lithium will artificially decompose into helium and tritium, and the latter reacts with deuterium, producing helium and neutron. I can provide pressure and temperature with the help of fire jutsu and barriers, and the source of neutrons can be lithium seven or the same general, the technology of making bombs does not cause me problems. And there is no issue with the extraction of thermonuclear fuel. The sea water contains a sufficient amount of deuterium and lithium salts, so there's no trouble to be had with finding deposits on the mainland. All that is needed now is to invent a technique of atomic separation, dividing matter into atoms and sorting them by isotopes. My ability to "learn" only allows me to clearly see the difference between different chemical elements. To isolate required substances from the water, the elements of the Earth that work with inanimate matter are ideal. So what if the water is liquid. Element is a much more abstract principle than the banal phase state of matter.

In general, while my physical body was engaged in fooling around in Konoha, my clones organized a small laboratory on the seashore, where they began experiments on the extraction of lithium deuteride. And here my broad academic knowledge on the theory of chakra, chemistry, physics and cabal studies was useful. Not that I was a great scientist in a past life, but the knowledge that lithium is an alkali metal with an atomic number of three, made it possible to learn to identify it. And with deuterium, and so everything is clear.

By the way, out here, a question arises to all critics of merishiness. What did the local ninjas themselves not have guessed that enemies need to drown with atomic weapons? It's elementary - you mine uranium, enrich it, throw it at your enemy head and detonate it. And why did these stupid shinobi not think of such a simple thing? The same question can be asked about my techniques for using the Third Eye. But who the hell would have guessed how this third eye needs to be developed, how to teleport energy and control it. Yes, even the fact that a person has the Ajna-chakra and its functions is not known to anyone here. All this is the result of the use of secret knowledge from the Earth, to which the locals never able to think for a thousand years. So I'm quite capable in the future to outshine Rikudou , Hashirama  and Madara together with my greatness.

Of course, I did not achieve the desired result right away. Only three months later I was able to bring to mind a jutsu that filtered water and extracted from it the chemicals I needed. After that, I spent another week creating a submarine with a drive on shadow clones, which I launched to cruise in sea waters, collecting the dissolved lithium deuteride.

The next step was to search for a desert island, where I began experimenting with a bomb charge detonation. Here, too, everything was not the glory of God. The idea was pretty simple. Create a pyramid barrier and fill it with lithium deuteride. After this, dissect the pyramid into a multitude of thin layers using weaker barriers. And, finally, we direct the fire chakra to the very tip of the pyramid, concentrating it until it reaches the critical temperature and pressure.

The essence of this idea was precisely the concentration of fire in the smallest possible amount. It is enough for me to "ignite" only an insignificant part of a thermonuclear charge, and then the reaction will become self-sustaining. Except that this operation was clearly beyond the reach of human consciousness. So I had to study fuinjutsu to be able to create a detonator mechanism. And how much chakra needed to be spent on one explosion is difficult to describe. Day after day, month after month, I was engaged in the development of a detonator, going through a lot of ideas and trying to use all my knowledge in nuclear and not so much physics. The first explosion, which could be called a thermonuclear reaction, occurred only after seven months. And I got a more or less finished bomb in two more. But then, by that time I had accumulated fifteen tons of lithium deuteride, which was more than enough to destroy all potential targets.

For the fourth year I spent on further studying the techniques of using the chakra, spying on the goals of a nuclear attack and laying thermonuclear charges in previously prepared places. The greatest problems were with the localization of Akatsuki and Orochimaru shelters. But in general, it can be said that my plans for establishing world domination were approaching the final phase. However, I have not been in a hurry.

My chakra circulation system was gradually developing, and I could already use weak techniques without worrying about energy consumption and sufficient concentration. But I could use the B-rank ninjutsu after a couple of tens of seconds of preparation, which was almost useless in combat.

Toward the end of the fourth year of my stay in this world, the Nine-Tailed Fox began to wake up. From time to time there were massive ejections of his chakra, and those around him flattened from his yaks. I tried to get into the inner world, about which it was said in the anime, but did not achieve success in this field. This technique did not have intersections with methods of spiritual development known to me, and the method of scientific touch did not bring results.

There was still an opportunity to ask someone to put a genjutsu on me, but there was another problem - the Yin-chakra in my head was so concentrated and organized that any genjutsu did not act on me. On the contrary, when trying to "transfer" the chakra to my brain, it flowed in the opposite direction under pressure, introducing the user to a genjutsu into an unconscious state and diluting his brain with inclusions of the bija chakra. A pair of ANBU from Root dropped their hooves, trying to hypnotize me, after which all attempts to get into my head stopped.

Danzo showed some anxiety about my lack of success in the academy, but so far this concern was not so strong that he personally came down to me in an attempt to direct the "village weapon" on the right path. Hiruzen also worried, but much less. He was quite happy with the prospect of making me a nominal genin and leaving me in the village as a carpenter.

The fifth, last year of study at the academy, I decided to devote completely to my inner demon. And no, it was not greed, but a banal Kyuubi. Since I have an endless battery of chakras, it is worth learning how to use it. To solve this problem, I decided to sacrifice Jiraiya. In a sense, sacrifice him to science. I learned a long time ago not only to read people's thoughts, but also to put genjutsu on them. Alas, there was one small drawback - nobody taught me to do Genjutsu, and therefore everyone I trained turned into vegetables after some time. That would seem to be the difference - to introduce chakra into the brain in order to count or control thoughts? But as soon as I tried to subordinate someone to my will, something immediately broke in their mind, and literally in a couple of minutes all brain activity of the victim ceased. I could not figure out the cause of this anomaly. In the end, my impact was not quite similar to those genjutsu techniques that were used by ordinary shinobi.

I took a long time to pick up the moment, and finally I did the necessary operation - ambushed Jiraya in a small village, broke into his consciousness and forced to call the Herotora-Toad, the keeper of the key to my jinchuuriki  seal. After that, the toad was seized, gutted, and the seal stored in it was expropriated. Jirayu suffered the same fate as well as all the previous victims of my "genjutsu". Snuggling him and all the witnesses, I went back to Konoha. Naturally, for this I used Hiraishin, which I quite confidently owned.

And then went the experiments on the opening and closing of my seal. As it turned out, the "inner world" meant not the world in my mind, but the world in jinchuriki's  seal. It was a virtual space in which, nevertheless, the very real bija was sealed. I could enter this space by creating something like a shadow clone. The important difference was that this clone was created by the seal itself, and therefore the technique was unsafe for year I spent on studying the kyuubi. Alas, I did not succeed in carrying out his autopsy, but this was replaced, again, by my scanning technique with which I was able to study the nature of the demon. The reason for his power were nine sources of the demonic chakra. Most importantly, these sources were part of his soul, so the killing of the bija did not deprive him of his strength, but only threw back into the hellish plans of being, from which he can return, making a lot of effort.

Already at the end of the school year, I decided to make a ‘hard to refuse’ proposal to the fox. As always, having fallen into bed and settled down for sleep, I activated the technique of entering to the world of seal and found myself right in front of the cage where the Nine-Tailed languished.

"Hello, tailing. Do you want to go outside, stretch your bones and lick your fur?”

"Grrrrrrr! I want to!! Open this cage and let me out!"

"I could, easily. But not for free. I need something from you in return."

"What do you need?" Said the fox after a few minutes of intense deliberation.

"Your tail."

"What?”

"I want your tail. You have nine, they are a lot of enough to you." In confirmation of my words, I use a Henge-jutsu to myself, adding to me a big fluffy fox's tail and fox's ears.

"No!" he roared. "You won't get anything!"

"Sure? Look, now I am asking in a good way. Otherwise I can in the bad way. I'll start experimenting over you, think up savage ways to chop you apart, and then take all your tails to myself. Do you want it? If you agree, I guarantee that I will release you from the cage, return your half, sealed in the stomach of the Shinigami. I will release you to the outside world on a distant island, where there is no shinobi. No one will find you there"

The kyuubi looked at me with a look of hatred.

"How can you prove that you will not deceive me?". He asked the next question after a few more minutes of reflection.

"We will make a contract. I can also teach you the techniques of the shinobi. I think if you can use ninjutsu, then with your strength you will never again fall into submission to a human."

I didn't hear a single word from the Nine-Tale on this day. And the next one too. But on the third day, he turned to me and agreed with the terms of the contract. Naturally, it was not just an agreement, but a mutual oath, witnessed by higher forces. I learned about such rituals from the inheritance of the Uzumaki clan of the village of Whirlpool. These techniques that caused the appearance of deity in this world, like Shinigami or Jashin.

The day of the exam for the title of genin was supposed to be fateful for me. It was to him that I planned to bring all my plans into action.

In the morning, as always, after jogging, I reached the academy, where exams were about to begin. Upon entering the classroom, I greeted Shikamaru and Choji , and sat down at my rightful place - in the last row near the window. After all, usually in this place the main characters of the anime always sit. And how many nerves I destroyed, while I removed Sasuke from this place. Oh, nice to remember. After all, I destroyed a lot of nerves, not to myself, but to him. Bu-ga-ga.

The bell rang, and the selection committee entered the class in the face of Iruka, Mizuki and the nameless ANBU in a mask. At the beginning, I passed the written exam, which I, of course, passed by three with a minus (maximum rate is 5). And then they began to call everyone in turn into the next class, where they had to demonstrate possession of the technique of illusory clones.

Waiting for my turn, I appeared before the admissions committee, where Iruka began his solemn speech:

"So, Naruto. These five years you studied the art of ninja. Now, it's time to show what you achieved. To get the title of genin, you must demonstrate to us the possession of the technique of illusory clones"

I focused, tensed, and used my technique to the limit of my abilities. After all, I carried it out strictly according to the instructions, using the chakra circulation system, which I had not even thought of developing. Appeared clone immediately fell to the floor and turned into a pile of bloodied tripe. It seems that I focused too much on the internal structure of the clone, and not on its appearance.

"I call this technique,horrendous bloody clone!" I said proudly, having examined the results of my effort.

"Naruto, you have failed. I see that you just could not create a normal clone," Iruka began to chasite me.

"Maybe, after all, we give pass this exam to him?" Mizuki said trying to justify my attempt. "In the end, his guts are depicted impressive"

"No. He has to show the academic technique, and not invent something of his own. Naruto, you did not pass. You are not worthy of the title of genin."

"Oh, well I never really wanted it. I snorted, heading for the exit. "I have already arranged to get a security guard in a brothel."

"What?  ...Naruto..." Iruka's indignant cry was cut off by a closed door. No one started to chase me, so I went to my home with a clear conscience, where I lay down on the bed. The time has come for my plan to seize the world.

First of all, I activated the hiding clones next to the thermonuclear charges and sent them to check the presence in the affected area of the corresponding targets. The targets were all hidden villages, Kage, Jinchuriki  and Akatsuki. I had to tinker a bit with the latter, but fortunately right now they were sitting in their shelters, waiting for orders. Even the elusive Obito and Zetsu had something to discuss with Nagato. Danzo was also in his shelter, sitting practically on my bomb. There I laid a very small charge, which was supposed to destroy only the Root's lair. It is impossible to think of the best moment. I will dispose Hiruzen later.

Through my clones, I activated detonation seals, and Shinobi's World bloomed with nine thermonuclear explosions, eight of which had enough power to literally evaporate a small island in the ocean. That was my last field test of this technology. The bed beneath me shook with an underground explosion at Root's shelter, but the house resisted. I activated the remaining observer clones and made sure that all targets were burned in the nuclear flame. More in this world there are no shinobi able to resist my plans. After that, I set up watch clones and went to the inner world of the Nine-Tailed.

"Hello, tailing. The hour of redemption has come!"

"What? Already?"

"Yes. I am fully prepared to fulfill my part of the contract. As soon as I get your tail, I will open the cage, invoke Shinigami and shake Minato's soul out of it. After that, you will unite with your half, and I will release you on the territory of the country of the Earth. May our Treaty be fulfilled!"

Having spoken a verbal formula, I activated the tail transfer ritual that had been developed for a long time. A tail would become a part of my soul, which means after death I will not lose the ability to create chakra. Considering my participation in a game, it was possible to assume that this life would not be the last. So I need trumps in my sleeve.

The process of transferring the tail to me was poorly remembered. This part of the treaty was performed by the kyuubi under the control of the ritual and the special seal of fuinjutsu. It was the riskiest part of my adventure, but after a while it was all over, and I came to my senses. While still in the inner world of seal, I activated the chakra-tail and made sure that the demon had completed its part of the transaction. Well, now it's my turn.

I approached the cage and tore off the seal covering the lock. A little mental effort - and the lock began to open.

"Naruto, stop!" The ghost of Minato appeared before me. The opening of the lock stopped, and the paper seal again took its place.

"Don’t  bother." By a mental effort, I threw away the clone of the ancestor of my body and again broke the seal.

"What are you doing?" shouted Minato, unsuccessfully trying to get closer to the cage.

"I have a contract."

Finally, the lock clicked, and the giant grille opened. Nine-tailed partially climbed out and stared at me with a tense look. I still had to fulfill several conditions of the deal.

But here, the events began to evolve not as planned. The space was broken by a wide crack, from where Shinigami got out in person.

"How dare you?!" He shouted, advancing on me and frivolously ignoring the Kyuubi. I exchanged glances with the fox, and his eight tails rushed forward, swaddling an unexpected guest. I was originally going to resort to using a demon to force Shinigami to share dinner, so his intervention only slightly changed the order of events and saved me from having to tinker with Mask Shiki Fujin. "You broke the rules of the game!" In the meantime, the god of death continued to shout, still not fully aware of what was going to happen to him now. So I focused and activated another fuinjutsu seal, set in advance near the wall of the hall.

Glowing inscriptions rushed out of fuin, swaddled Shinigami. One of them successfully silenced him, saving us from angry shout. Then, the main part of the seal worked, and the god of death literally had torn to pieces. Of course, a person of his level is not so easy to kill, but, I hope, he has experienced unforgettable impressions.

Minato's soul flew out from the stomach of the torn essence, which a moment later merged with his clone. I was about to go to the next step, as I was again interrupted in the most brazen manner. The space again exploded in half, and another figure emerged from the break.

"You, pathetic pawn! How dare you set me up?" - I was surprised to recognize the voice of that Being that shoved me into Naruto's body.

"What? What are you talking about?" I was surprised.

"You-u-u-u !" Malice bursted from my interlocutor, and the waves coming from Being was such strong, even the Kyuubi had to shrink into a ball from horror. "You broke the rules by destroying someone else's figures before the official start of the game. Couldn't wait one day? The game was supposed to start tomorrow morning!"

"Fucking yell at me!" I turned out to be. "That you did not tell me about the game and its rules. You told me to prevail. I prevailed. So it's your own fault for such events."

"Vile creature! I will turn you into an insect.  I pick him up." The last phrase was clearly addressed to Shinigami, whose scraps managed to gather in some semblance of a figure. So the Being that did not present itself to me, extended a hand, and I felt how my soul was literally ripped out of the body, which I had already begun to consider as my own.

"I have a contract!" I cried out, urgently activating all the remaining parts of the ritual enhanced by the divine energy, which could even slow down the Being only a second.

Another fuinjutsu seal, already the third in a row, was activated, snapping a dumbfounded Minato. His soul had torn to shreds too, and the second half of the Nine-Tailed Demon broke loose. It immediately rushed to that Kyuubi, who was sitting in a cage, and I activated a special shadow clone, in whose memory my knowledge of ninjutsu techniques and how a creature like biju could use them was invested. The last moment was important, because tailed beast’s control over the chakra was not the best, not to mention the level of intelligence. The clone rushed to its goal and for a moment before I was drawn into the gap, I became convinced that the Treaty was fulfilled on my part.

The tail of the chakra is now completely and finally belongs to my soul.

"Ha ha ha! Did I upset him? l?" - The Being laughed as soon as the gap of space closed behind our backs. - "It's good that I decided to visit you a couple of days before the start of the game. This plan with thermonuclear bombs came as a surprise even to me. So I jumped in and made a bet that you will destroy all opponents before the game starts. Anyway, according to the rules, the use of nuclear weapons is prohibited. And so, I win a lot of by betting on you. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Why are you silent?"

"I need a prize for the early completion of the task." I made my demands.

"You will not get it. You're not on my salary, but in slavery. In addition, you ruined the game for which the local Shinigami had been preparing for two thousand years. So the only reward is that you will spend the next life in the body of an insect, as I promised. There, you will definitely not be able to do worse, because the situation is already worse."

At this, our dialogue ended, and I again plunged into unconsciousness.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Nerubian

I woke up in a close confined space. I was surrounded on all sides by a solid springy shell, inside which everything was filled with me and a viscous liquid. I almost did not feel my body, and therefore I focused primarily on consciousness.

Walking through my memories, I focused on the tail of the bija. It regularly supplied me with chakra, which had already begun to fill my new body. But besides the tail, I discovered another source of energy. As soon as I tried to understand what is it, the mental images of the whole lecture on the topic "What is magic and with whom it is eaten," appeared in my mind.

Oddly enough, it was not a gift from the Being, but the genetic memory of my new body. In the same memory there was a description of my anatomical structure, the structure of society, the method of performing typical duties, and so on. In fact, having mastered the packet of these data, I had to become a prepared gear in the community of intelligent... spiders.

Of course, in reality these were not spiders, but from the point of view of anatomy, these inhabitants of the Earth were closest to me. The head on the chest, abdomen, ten articulated legs, of which six are "legs" and four "hands", a mouth capable of absorbing only liquid food, and twelve faceted eyes - this is a short list of the distinctive features of this body. Well, the body that allows you to create a web.

Having mastered all the necessary knowledge, I have more carefully examined my body and determined by its structure it belonged to the caste of workers. Yes, yes, these creatures were part of a large hive where the division of labor and specialization flourished. Of course, I was not satisfied with such a disposition, so I began to saturate my body with the chakra and drops of the magical energy available to me. This in turn activated the hidden mechanisms of development, creating from me a kind of hybrid between a warrior and a magician.

In general, the society of spiders (I will call them like that) was divided into three castes: workers, warriors, magicians. Within each caste there were additional specializations adapted to perform a particular job. Each such podcast occupied a certain rigid position from the hierarchy of society, on top of which stood the Queen, and at the very bottom there were "laborers", one of which I will to become in future.

The future caste of the spider was determined by the conditions in which the eggs were located during the development of the embryo. To become a magician, the egg had to be fed in large quantities by specially modulated magical energy. And to get the soldiers on the eggs put special spells that activate the growth of the physical component.

I filled my body with chakra bija, which began to transform it according to a very very strange program, activating all possible abilities in this body. Therefore, I clearly fell out from the local caste system. But it's better than being born a miserable spider-worker, incapable of anything but harvesting manure and spinning a web.

The process of my transformation and "ripening" was delayed. The egg-filled fluid soaked into my body and was used as a building material. Body size increased, acquiring a more pronounced "centaur" shape with four arms. Finally, I felt ready to hatch. By this time, I had long heard some sounds coming from outside. Looks like my brothers and sisters on laying left eggs. But here, the quiet rustling was interrupted by a foot beat on the stone surface, after which the words of thoughtlers penetrated my consciousness. Spiders mostly communicate telepathically, although they also had verbal means of communication.

“This clutch is already ripe. It remains to wait for the most underdeveloped and dispose of dead and defective eggs.”

I began to actively move my limbs, trying to break through the egg shell. It would be funny if they ‘dispose’ me before I can get out.

“I gave the order to teachers. It will take a couple of weeks for this party to be able to start grooming scarabs.”

“And what about the laying of hunters?”

“Maturation is expected in three days. Stocks are ready for ninety percent. So in two weeks we will be able to send them upstairs, appoint workers as escort.”

"What a strange egg."

Two sources of thought froze beside me. And at that moment the shell finally gave in to my efforts, and I was able to get out

“Never seen such a body shape.” I cleared my eyes and stared at two giant spiders, compared to which I was like a mouse in front of an elephant.

“Defective individual.”

“It is strange that the signs of the magician were activated in him. The background here does not exceed the normal.”

“Never mind. We need workers, not magicians. I see no reason to spend on him food.”

“Hey, I can be helpful.” I was indignant.

“Our colony is experiencing problems with the extraction of food. We can not afford to feed the extra mouth. Do you agree to do the work of a worker?” A spider answered me, which judging by its appearance, belonged to the top of the caste of workers.

“No, but I can solve your problems with food in another way.”

“How?” Interested the second spider, which my instincts identified as a magician-scientist.

“The specific way will depend on the exact circumstances in which we are. I have enough knowledge to solve this problem, whatever it is.”

“The genome of the ancients?” The magician was surprised.

"The Queen didn't say anything like that." Object worker-spider.

“Sometimes it manifests itself, if the colony is in a critical situation. And our situation can hardly be called not critical.”

“In any case, I have no food for him. I doubt that he will be able to perform the duties of a worker.”

“I'll take it with me. If it will benefit, then the food will be organized at the expense of the caste of magicians.”

The spiders exchanged glances, and the worker-spider stepped aside, taking up cleaning of the room from the remains of eggs lying around. At the same time, he drove small spiders to the center of the hall, there was something like a circus arena. I quickly looked around the room and looked at my "savior".

“Climb up on my head.” He replied to my unspoken question.

I had to climb his leg on his back, and then on his head. Then my vehicle moved along long corridors branching at all angles in all directions. Fifteen minutes later we got to the large hall, where I was dumped on the surface of the table, filled with all sorts of strange things. Most of all it looked like a lab.

“So, you say that you have knowledge of how to solve our food crisis?” Immediately turned to the case magician.

“I think yes. To find a solution, I need to know what you eat and how the process of food extraction is organized.”

“What do we eat? Doesn't your memory contain an answer to such a simple question?”

The standard hereditary memory at my disposal contained very little information about the history of the civilization of spiders. But there were references to the fact that this story is tens of thousands of years old, and spiders came to this world from another world about six thousand years ago.

“In different eras in different worlds, our species ate different foods.” I issued an abstruse phrase.

“It's true.” Agreed the magician. “Well, I will tell you about our situation, but first you should eat, else  you risk dying of hunger before I finish telling.”

I listened to myself and really felt a brutal hunger. It is strange that this feeling did not cause me such strong discomfort, as in human body. Meanwhile, the magician stepped aside and returned, dragging a beetle in his hand, about four times larger than me. Looking at this creature, I began to doubt who would eat who if we were left alone. The hungry squeak of a beetle confirmed my concerns.

The magician with a quick movement of his hand tore off legs of the beetle and put it in front of me. After that, he literally wrapped helpless victim to cobweb in a couple of seconds and injected his saliva into the cocoon that had formed. The beetle squeaked in displeasure and began to decompose to a state of mucus, crackling chitin.

I looked at the leg that was longer than my body, and with a mental sigh focused on the instincts that told me how to eat it. To begin with, I sucked the lymph flowing from an open wound. After that, slowly formed from the chakra technique of the air blade and cut off a small piece of flesh, which, following the example of my companion, wrapped with web and injected saliva to the package. Now it was time to wait, and I could start eating. Yeah, it's not for you to chew hamburgers, there is a whole technology of eating. Or would it be more correct to say the culture of eating food?

The magician looked at my actions approvingly, after which he sucked his "cocktail" in one gulp and began a story about my new homeland. I listened to the unearthly wisdom of ancestors, incidentally, piece by piece, devouring the beetle's leg.

Spiders actually arrived in this world six thousand years ago, bringing with them a standard set of power sources at that time. After some time, the colonies settled around the world, and for the most part settled in the rock caves, which they themselves dug. The general scheme of food production was as follows: chosen hunter spiders go outside the nest and collected plant materials. These materials were crushed, and a special mycelium was planted on them, which gave the first harvest after only a couple of weeks. Mushrooms were fed to scarab beetles, one of which I was savoring right now for both chelicerae .

Of course, beetles were far from the only food that spiders could eat. Rather, it was food that could provide the spider's body with all the necessary substances at minimal cost. But besides the beetles, the spiders did not disdain the meat of terrestrial animals, the fruits of plants, and the feed mushrooms themselves.

Such a cycle of food reproduction could not be called optimal, but it ensured the food safety of the civilization of spiders for six thousand years. What has changed? The reason was commonplace - global warming. First, over the course of five hundred years, the air temperature on the planet has steadily increased. Given the overall humidity of the climate, this only increased the production of biomass. But about seventy years ago "Hour X" began.

On earth, a similar scenario was described as "Boiling of the atmosphere". An increase in sea surface temperature led to the formation of a huge typhoon. The air filled with moisture rose to a record height, where the pressure of the atmosphere could not hold back the expansion of water vapor, in fact, it re-evaporated. As a result, huge masses of relatively warm air rose into the stratosphere and partially evaporated altogether into space. In replace cold air come to the lower layers of the atmosphere.

At an altitude of ten kilometers the temperature at minus fifty degrees of celsius is quite normal. But when this air descended, all the land and a large part of the sea surface instantly became covered with ice. So this world came the next ice age.

The air cooling rate was so high that the animals feeding on heat-loving plants froze to death, before they could digest the food. Such remnants, by the way, were found on Earth in the stomachs of mammoths found in permafrost in Yakutia. In general, nothing unusual happened in this world, but now all the land around the colony of spiders was covered with snow. The situation was aggravated by the fact that this place was almost beyond the Arctic Circle. During the thaw, this location is quite allowed to feed not the largest colony. But now the supply of biomass from the surface has been reduced to almost zero.

The first time after the onset of cold weather, the spiders escaped, collecting the remnants of vegetation from the area. But then, the problem became so obvious that it was decided to "hibernate" until better times. Then there was still hope that the cooling will end soon. Most of the population of the colony was placed under the knife, and a smaller part hibernated, waking up  once every few years to replenish the nutrient reserves in the body.

And now, after seventy years of the catastrophe on the surface, a catastrophe has occurred underground. All food sources were almost completely exhausted. The immediate surroundings were cleaned up, and the queen of the spiders decided ... to resort to the next idiotic "last resort".

In short, it was planned to grow a group of reconnaissance spiders, give them workers in reinforcement and send the whole mob to faraway lands, with the hope that there they would dig out enough food and then bring it to the colony. Hearing such a plan, I could not resist the hysterical laughter.

“Why are you laughing?” The magician gaped in bewilderment.

“This is your ‘plan of salvation’ just a way to quickly finish off the colony. To some extent, it is justified. It is better to die quickly, engaging in useless activities, than to stretch one's agony for hundreds of years.”

“This plan came up with the Queen herself!”

“So what?” I asked puzzled, considering my interlocutor.

“Doubt about the orders of a superior is a deadly sin.” He explained, as a matter of course. “If the Queen made such a decision, then we should not discuss it, but carry it out.”

“Yyy ... It looks like the situation is even worse than I expected. But, in principle, we can use this campaign as part of a real plan to save the colony.”

“Do you already have a plan?”

"Rag Hack, whom are you talking to here?" Interrupted us ‘loud’ telepathic voice. In one of the openings in the wall appeared the carcass of a spider, one and a half times larger than my magician. As my instincts told me, it was a female being.

“Seg-Nim-Het, I greet you. I found in the clutch of workers a spider with an awakened genomic memory of the ancients. He declared that he has a plan how to provide our colony with food.”

“What? The memory of the ancients? That is a fairy tale.”

"And yet, his mind is much more developed than newborn worker. So I think that we should at least study his proposals.”

“Ha, so what can you think? Here I make decisions.” Seg-Nim-Het looked at me, doused with waves of contempt. “Well, come on, surprise me, a small worker. Tell me your plan.” She turned to me. "If I don't like plan, I'll eat you."

If it were not for my very precarious situation, in response to such a proposal, I would have torn this creature to pieces. Basically, I could do it right now. In the end, now my power is equal to the power of the one-tail bija. True, there is still an unaccounted parameter in the form of local magic. So for now it's worthwhile to set forth one's own considerations, especially since the solution did not simply not differ in originality, but on the contrary was completely obvious ... for anyone who had a bit more brains in his head than a spider.

“I think you should evolve and move from the culture of hunter-gatherers to the culture of organized agriculture.”

“What?” If the spiders had a mimic, then I am sure that on the face of Seg-Nim-Het would be described as expression of stupid fucking. This is exactly the kind of reaction to my phrase that can be expected from the intake knacker.

“You need to organize your own production of plant biomass in special areas where optimal conditions for plant growth will be created.”

“Do you understand what he said?” The female spider turned to her subordinate.

“This is a dialect of the ancients.” He got out. “He offers us to grow plants in our dungeons, creating the same conditions as they were on the surface before the beginning of the Catastrophe.”

“Grow yourself? Is it possible? I mean, we don't have the ability to grow plants. And about this magic, I also did not hear anything.”

I almost broke and did not begin to laugh at the top of my voice. I even had to turn off my ‘speech apparatus’ in order not to inadvertently transfer my thoughts to this animal.

“I think he has information on how to organize this process.” Tactfully noticed Rag-Hak, pointing to me.

“Hmm ... Well. Then I order you to explore the possibilities of embodying my idea of growing plants. You can even use this worker. I will order enough food to be provided for him.”

“Of course, dear Seg-Nim-Het. I will execute your order and provide a detailed action plan that is in accordance with the will of the Queen.”

“Count on you.”

Female spider once again looked at me with a squeamish look and sped away, radiating hidden complacency and a desire to share her brilliant idea with the Queen herself.

“You should be more attentive to the hierarchy of our society.”  Noticed Rag-Hak after Seg-Nim-Het's footsteps faded. “Doubt about the orders of a superior is a deadly sin. Also, as well as doubts in her mental abilities. Many of my brethren died without timely awareness of these simple truths.”

“Oh ... I, in fact, already realized. I realized that no matter what brilliant plans I promoted, your colony is doomed to extinction.”

“What? Why?” Looks like my revelation knocked the spirit out of a scientist.

“It's simple. If any doubt in the decisions of the authorities is punishable by death, then the chief had in the subordinates only individuals dumber than him. And since we are not immortal, the very top of society will die sooner or later. Their place will be taken by more stupid subordinates. Then the cycle will be repeated once more, and again, and so on, until extremely dull individuals will be at the top of the social pyramid, who will destroy themselves and the entire colony in one. This is the result of natural selection, and in such conditions, extinction is not just likely, but completely inevitable. Your current situation is just the result of the action of such a pattern. You could not find a completely obvious solution, because the paucity of the mind of those who lead you does not even suggest the possibility of the existence of such a solution.”

"Did you express in such a cunning way the idea that we are all stupid assholes who are incapable of solving the simplest tasks?"

“Yes, that is exactly what I wanted to say.”

The magician stared at me grimly, fingering his fingers. Thinking about, is it not easier to kill me than to hear the truth?

“I'll call you Chpok.” He finally announced. “Henceforth, you better communicate only with me. If it were not for the order of Seg-Nim-Het to provide a plan for solving the food problem, I would have already killed and devoured you.”

“Hahaha. Looks like you still have a grain of common sense,” I laughed to the face of a spider. "So, are you ready to listen to my ideas on how to save your pitiful lives?"

“Speak.”

"But first, lunch, and I need to release the my intestines. I don't think your table is the right place for that.”

Awareness of the basic principles of the organization of local society led me to the obvious conclusion: it is necessary to bring down. And not who, but where. In this society, I can take a normal position only if I kill all those who are more stupid than me, in short, all of them. Therefore, it will be easier to escape somewhere to the equator, and already there to organize your own utopia.

For the next couple of weeks, I ate with three throats, at the same time reading information from the local counterpart of books, which were special crystals grown with magic. Literature was devoted to three topics: history, physiology, magic. As I read books, I began to write my own, in which I was going to describe in detail the process of growing plants. Given the local mentality, in this book there was not a single abstract thought or explanation of why and wherefore. It answered only one question: how? It was an extremely detailed instruction.

The essence of the technology, of course, was simple - to organize premises for greenhouses, fill in the ground there, plant seeds, water it from time to time and, of course, organize sufficient lighting. Well, it is worth mentioning such important parameters as temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide content in the air. Naturally, most of the necessary actions were supposed to be performed with the help of magic, for which I requested myself a bunch of books in this area.

Also, the history of the local civilization of spiders was extremely useful. And, it must be admitted, was an example illustrating the ideas I have already expressed.

About six thousand years ago, several million spiders arrived to this world through a portal. The queen named Azjol-Nerub led this crowd. The same name was also used to name the new civilization of intelligent spiders, which immediately squeezed the local population, winning not a very small piece of territory for itself. In very deed, all these newcomers were deserters, dumped from their own world, in order to build here the utopia of the name of their queen. And since among the subjects there was a sufficient number of doubters, a law was introduced establishing the supremacy of the social pyramid of power over common sense. Since then, the civilization of spiders has slowly but surely degraded.

In the new world was almost two dozen intelligent races. And not even hundreds of years passed when the world war of all with all began. This bacchanalia lasted for no less than a thousand years, but in the end the spiders won. Still, the legacy they dragged from the portal contained a huge amount of knowledge. First of all, knowledge of magic. Form of government made civilization work for deterioration, acting on the principle "everything for the war,  everything for victory".

Queen Azjol-Nerub did not survive her triumph for long. In the end, the maximum lifespan of a spider was measured at five hundred years. And the queen so much lasted only because of the knowledge of lost magic of rejuvenation. The next thousand years, the spiders mastered the captured world for undivided use, and also ... degraded. And after a specified period, the heavens opened up and opened ... no, not the heavenly abyss, but only portals from other worlds, from where all evil spirits flooded: elves, trolls, orcs, humans, goblins, vampires and so on.

Thus began another era of world wars. Spiders, relaxed for a thousand years, could not provide serious resistance, and quickly lost their leading positions. Time after time they were defeated, until the army of the orcs did not destroy the capital of their empire, along with the degraded elite of society.

Then only a small detachment under the leadership of a lower-level commander, who managed to pack up with most of the imperial library, escaped. Actually, she was her guard. And then, having received the sane command, the army of spiders multiplied, learned magic and broke into the invaders, destroying every single one. True, it took another thousand years.

During the conduct of hostilities, the power in the society of spiders changed several times, so that at the end, the adherents of traditions were again at the top. After the destruction of the external enemy, they quickly cleared all internal opponents and took up their favorite work - moral decay.

After another thousand years, the cycle repeated. But this time, the long-term degradation of the whole society has reached a critical limit, so the spiders could not fight back the invaders. All what spiders’ might enough is to disperse across different continents, to crouch in secluded holes and drag out their miserable existence there, hiding from the greats of this world.

A thousand years of countless wars have passed, the victor in which turned out to be ... spiders. As if in mock of fate, their strategy turned out to be a winning one. All other races and civilizations successfully ruined each other, simply forgetting that another side of the conflict was hiding somewhere in the gaps. True, we have to admit that by the time of their "victory" only three colonies were left from the spiders. One was located in the extreme north, on an island beyond the Arctic Circle. It was here that I was born. Two more dragged their existence on the southern continent, also not far from the pole.

Since then, almost a thousand years have passed. Alas, the victory was Pyrrhic, and our colony could not find a way to get to a more favorable area. Spiders were no mariners, and there was no growing normal forest from which ships could be built. About three hundred years ago, communication with the other two colonies was lost, so their fate was unknown.

The magic of spiders for this one thousand years has considerably degraded. And no, the point was not the loss of knowledge. The legacy of the ancients was all right. The problem was a fall in the level of intelligence. Six thousand years of directed selection gave their result. The current spiders could not master the magic of their ancestors, and used its pitiful stubs, simplified to the limit.

Fortunately, when I, while in the egg, imbued my body with the chakra, all the sleeping genes awoke, and my brain developed to a level quite comparable with the great magicians of the Ancients. So now I have absorbed all the knowledge accumulated by civilization, in one making up instructions for downs how to grow hemp.

Two weeks after my birth, the "rescue team", which included me, also went on the march. During this time, my size has increased from a couple of centimeters to a full-fledged meter in girth. This is without taking into account the legs. True, the growth of the physical body was not associated with the growth of magical abilities. More or less decent mages spiders became only ten years after birth. But my minimum ability was enough to use the spell of a thermal shield, which allowed me to protect myself from the cold. For one thing, I forced to learn this spell of all those who went hiking. Although now there was a local "summer", this meant that the temperature on the surface was not minus seventy, but "only" minus forty celsius.

I joined the campaign only because I was the only specialist able to understand how and where to gather the seeds of plants. Fortunately, an unexpected ice age began when it was winter in the northern hemisphere, so the seeds had to be able to survive the low temperature. True, they had to lie in the permafrost for seventy years, but I had every chance to find still alive grains.

Rag-Hak did not want to go with me, so I had to show miracles of resourcefulness in order to force the commander of our detachment, who was on the social ladder several steps above me, to carry out their orders. And even so, I found half of the seeds and excavated on my own.

Upon returning to my native caves, I started gardening. A week later, the first seeds sprouted, and my laboratory became a real place of pilgrimage for all important spiders in the colony. Only the queen disdained to come to me. Instead, several pots of plants were brought to her chambers, which she deign to admire before eating.

The attitude of the local authorities towards me has not changed fundamentally. All of them considered me an object of their intrigues, and did not conceal that I would live only as long as there was use of me. After all, my knowledge and skills were a challenge to their stupid existence. However, I was not deceived, and therefore the necessary instructions were written slowly, carefully and only after studying a huge number of ancient books of magic.

A year after my birth, food production was finally put on stream. All the "old spiders" were wake up from hibernation, and in the manger grew the eggs of future workers, warriors and even magicians.

On one of the beautiful days, I sat and read a book of the magic of souls when this occupation was interrupted by the appearance of my boss Seg-Nim-Het. Old Rag-Hack only a week ago angered one of female-spiders, after which his disfigured body went to feed the scarabs. And now, judging by the emitted spider emotions, my time has come.

“Chpok, our queen decided to make you happy with an audience. You did a lot for our people, so she deigned to see you with her own eyes”

“Glad for her.” I expressed my enthusiasm for this fact, putting the crystal with the book to the side.

“Come on, the queen doesn't like to wait.”

“Of course. I just need to return this book to the repository.” I pointed to the crystal laid in a special box. “It's on the way.”

"Yes, the legacy of the ancestors must be safe." Despite the rules that prevailed here, respect for ancient knowledge was branded into the brain of everyone. So Seg-Nim-Het did not have much choice but to agree with me. It was possible to take out books from the library only under the guarantee of vigilant care for their safety.

Carefully squeezing the box in the lower left hand, I ran to the library, smartly turning over the legs. I was already beginning to like this body. It was much more convenient than human. When I reached the Vault of Knowledge, I slipped into one of the narrow passages, and after only a few seconds my shadow clone came out. Although he was poorly adapted to physically influence the world around him, outwardly he was practically indistinguishable from myself. A close physical contact among spiders was a kind of taboo, which made me hope that my deception would not be revealed until the very end.

While the clone was moving to the queen's chambers, I cast a disguise and teleported to one of the lower levels, where I had previously left the Hiraishin tag. Judging by the tracks, the last time in this place the spider passed a couple of hundred years ago. Here I lurked, watching what was happening with my clone.

Reaching the throne room, Seg-Nim-Het overtook me and was the first to enter a huge room decorated with a draw of glowing runes. This line of magic was used to create a variety of artifacts, and became the basis on which I created all the local agriculture.

"Queen, by your order, I brought a worker with the memory of the ancients, who made a small contribution to your plan for the development of agriculture.” Fawned spider, while retreating to the side.

When the carcass of Seg-Nim-Het ran back to the wall, a space filled with many spiders of different sizes stretched before me. And in the farthest corner of the hall stood a giant queen, whose size in height was not less than ten meters.

“So, I see you, the heir of the ancients.” The voice of the queen rang in my head. "Forbidden knowledge has distorted your body, so you cannot be called either a magician, or a warrior, or even a worker.”

In the thoughts of the governor there was disgust and ... envy. Envy of my magic abilities, which exceeded everything available to her and her surroundings. Only a small age did not allow me to stand on a par with her. And it was clear to everyone present that in ten years I will be able to make a threat to the established order of things.

“Like you have no place in our society.” continued the queen. “Therefore, in the name of common good, your life must stop. You helped me regain the greatness of our race, and therefore I grant you the right to ask me one question.”

Yes, indeed, the royal gift. The queen fell silent, and everyone present stared at me with bated breath. What would I say, finally?

"Seg-Nim-Het told me that because of my knowledge, she is now just a step away from becoming the queen herself. Is it true?”

The glances of everyone present darted to the side and focused on my boss. The same only found the strength to creak some sounds and fall to the floor from loss of consciousness. Hehe. Every day is not Sunday. The queen formed a spell that stretched from her to the failed rival with a ghostly whip and dismembered that piece of meat into pieces.

“No, she was wrong.” The Queen judge responded impassively.

I just smiled at that. Throughout the past year, I basically contacted only two spiders, which both were now dead. And the rest of the inhabitants of the colony did not even know what kind of abilities I possess. Having my chakra remained as secret behind seven seals, which allowed me to effectively and effectively hide my escape.

“Of course it was mistake.” I replied, broadcasting my speech to all those present. "After all, our colony does not need a queen, but a king, and I will be the king, after I destroy you all.”

With these words, I formed the AOE spell "Dust of Death", which I immediately threw to the crowd in front of me. The source of energy for this spell was a small crystal rock, the technology of creation of which I learned from the books. My glorious speech for a second stunned all those present, so they did not have time to defend themselves, and the spell destroyed several dozen targets. But after a second, a whole storm of magic came down on my clone, which destroyed all traces of my stay here, as well as the bodies of those spiders that were so unfortunate to stay around me.

I once again squandered the last events in my memory, after which I moved along the abandoned aisles to my hideout. The attempt of my murder did not come as a surprise to me. I have long been prepared for such a development. In the distant corridors, I organized my own plantation, where the best specimens of plants grew, mushrooms matured, and fodder beetles multiplied. That should have been enough for my comfortable life.

Over the past year I have read quite a few books on magic. To be more precise, I did not even read them, but copied it to my memory. I can deal with this heritage of the ancients for centuries. But even so, a significant and most interesting part of the library was inaccessible to me. Now I was going to correct this omission.

The next month I was busy plundering the library. No, I did not steal crystals with books, but only for a while took them away, leaving empty fakes. During this month, no one understood what was happening. First of all, because no one has read these books for several hundred years. Librarians followed the order in the library, and did not seek to make problems for themselves, gaining forbidden knowledge. At one time, I left a sufficient number of Hiraishin tags in the courses of the Storage of Knowledge in order to be able to penetrate there imperceptibly.

Finally, all the knowledge of interest to me took their place in my skull, and I began preparing for the next stage of my plan — escape. I was not going to just run away, but to establish my own colony, which required grabbing a few individuals of female spiders. I didn't see any sense in negotiating with adult spiders, so I decided to snitch eggs. But then the question arose of their preservation. From the moment of laying eggs to their hatching, only two weeks passed. And all this time, the eggs had to be in special conditions. It is extremely doubtful that I can escape with such a load, carrying it in my hands. Not to mention that my journey in search of a new home could be delayed. But after birth, spiders need abundant nutrition.

In general, after considering the situation, I decided to steal the eggs a couple of days after laying, and then seal them in a fuinjutsu print with time stopped. And in order not to lose precious cargo during the journey, I decided to put the seal on my shell. For a week, my clones were able to put the necessary patterns on my back abdomen. Three seals were meant for three eggs, and another one was to hold my food base - plant seeds, mycelium, scarab eggs.

Fully prepared for the journey, I waited for the queen to lay the next batch of eggs, and "went to job." Naturally, the clutches were well guarded. And best of all, the warriors followed the small room where the eggs of the future magicians matured, among which was planned the birth of females.

The plan for my entry into the protected area was simple: take the form of a nanny, wade into the room, grab three eggs, and get rid of Hirayshin. But after watching the guards, I came to the conclusion that I could not reliably portray the desired spider. They did not just inspect everyone passing by, but also communicated with them quite a lot. A fake telepathic "voice" was beyond my strength.

Fortunately, another method was found. The increased concentration of magical energy in this room was maintained with the help of special storage crystals, which dissipated the energy contained in them and were replaced every two days. All I had to do, replace one such crystal, with a Hiraishin labeled crystal. A few hours later, the worker himself installed crystals in the room, after which I could only wait a bit until all the extra witnesses left the place of the operation.

The rest of the century's scam went through the notes. My clone silently appeared in a guarded room, looked at the eggs, chose three among them, of which the females had to hatch, and just as silently disappeared along with the loot.

Finally, everything was ready for my escape. But I, naturally, decided not to leave my modest refuge, but sent a clone instead of myself. The situation on the surface was quite accurately described by the short phrase "ice hell". Frost is more than forty degrees, constant snowstorm and snow falling from the sky without stopping. For seventy years, it has already piled more than two hundred meters. If it were not for the special spells that regenerate oxygen, the spiders would have become extinct fifty years ago, when all the passages completely fell asleep. During the first expedition, I had to dig a long course to the surface, run more than two hundred kilometers, and then again burrow into the snow, digging up a thin strip of frozen vegetation. Now my clone got out and skied south to skis.

With such a snow cover it was already difficult to distinguish land from the sea. So I got to a small mountain range, from where I began to look at the endless snowy plains. Well, I think it's worth building here, especially since the rocks protruding from the snow gave access to building materials.

I decided not to reinvent the wheel, but to invent a boat-all-terrain vehicle, which had to move equally well through the snow and the water. The main material should have been aluminum and titanium, which I could easily distinguish from granite. It is good that the local rocks consisted precisely of it, and not of any limestone deposits. And so, the aluminum content in granite reaches 15 percent, and titanium to one percent. Considering my ability to isolate deuterium from sea water, the extraction of the required metals was not at least as difficult.

After just a few hours, I proudly examined the result of my labors. In shape, it was a punt boat. Approximately the same shape is usually given to river ferries. The width is three meters, length ten, height two meters. The titanium bottom was made weighted to prevent the boat turning over on the water. From above, it was closed by an aluminum roof, and in the front part there was a "cabin" with rather thick glass of transparent corundum. The boat was driven by four paddle wheels, similar to those installed on nineteenth-century steamers. And all this good rotated as a result of the action of fuin-seals. There were no amenities here, but a clone was not needed.

After running around the vehicle, the clone created another clone, which began to create a copy of the all-terrain vehicle, and the "original" sat down at the driver's seat and headed further south. As I was afraid, I had to get to the open water for a very long time. More than two thousand kilometers had to overcome my all-terrain vehicle through snow and ice. I already began to worry that the titanium bottom would be worn down to holes from such loads. I had to stop halfway and fortify it with fuin seals.

I sent a total of four clones for reconnaissance. Alas, the spider brain was not well suited for parallelizing tasks. Or in other words, schizophrenia in representatives of my species was very rare.

Having reached the open water, the boats successfully passed the test for the operation of the propulsion system in the new mode, after which they set off in different directions in search of continent. The journey was pretty long. If I went to him personally, I would die of starvation on the high seas. Of course, it would be possible to fish, but the spider's body needs several "vitamins", which can only be obtained from beetles. And so I sat on the base, studied magic and watched the clones’ surf the world ocean by the corner of my eye.

The plan for geographic research in general was quite simple — get to the equator, and then sail along it until I stumble onto the land. Alas, this plan did not provide for the fact that there maybe not a single continent in the equatorial region. The general map of the planet has not been preserved by spiders. It stayed in the defeated imperial library. And over the next thousand years, stupid insects never guessed to bring their knowledge of geography together. I was only aware of the presence of two continents at the poles, large islands near them and another continent somewhere in the middle.

Alas, the mainland was obviously not at the equator, as I secretly hoped. Despite the ice age, the temperature at the equator decreased slightly. Well, there was now not plus thirty, but plus twenty five. All the same, these were excellent conditions for living. Here are just nowhere to live. Somehow, I am still not ready to create a civilization that lives on man-made islands.

My clones had to go around the planet twice before they came across a nice island that stretched from north to south. I already began to think about how to invent a plane. The only thing that stopped me was that my knowledge of aerodynamics was limited to a school course of physics and knowledge of how to fold paper airplanes. And in good weather, the boats developed a good speed for a hundred kilometers per hour. Considering the average diameter of the Earth-like planets, the length of the equator was supposed to be around forty thousand kilometers, that is, the round-the-world trip my clones made in just twenty days.

Fortunately, at the end of the second month of swimming a group of islands was discovered, which was quite suitable for permanent residence. By area, the largest island was comparable to New Zealand. Yes, and geologically, it also looked like her - in the center passed a mountain range, the peaks of which reached a height of several kilometers, delighting the eye with snow caps.

I was already somewhat tired of sitting in my shelter, so I happily moved to the clone and took part in the landing. The study of the area showed the complete absence of traces of rational forms of life and the infinite tumult of life unreasonable. Having rudely caught a couple of little animals, I decided to finally move to a new place of residence. However, for this, I first needed to organize a farm for growing mushrooms and a pen for breeding beetles. That still hassle.

Considering my origin from insects, I decided to make a house in the form of a termitary. So far, I was not up to a beautiful appearance. Instead, protection from rain, sunlight and various living creatures came first. I drew inspiration for interior decoration from cadres of films about alien nests. I built a small three-storey mansion Doton with the help of the chakra in just a day. After that, unpacked mycelium and scarab eggs and placed them in suitable conditions. I think, until I establish normal food production, I will eat local animals.

The next ten years, I just lived on the island, without denying myself anything. During this time, I explored it far and wide. Good thing housekeeping can be left on clones. I was in no hurry to create my own colony, because I was going to do this only after the full development of the magic core. However, I did not miss much. Magic, as in its time chakra, captured all my attention.

Moreover, the knowledge of the ancients described completely unimaginable tricks with reality: space travel, portals to other worlds, magical technologies that allow you to create any technique from a calculator to a space battleship, biotechnology to create new life forms, resurrection of the dead, immortality, and so on. Alas, I got only the crumbs of the described power. Queen Azjol-Nerub fled to this world with a baggage of knowledge of an average office clerk. Perhaps the opening of the portal between the worlds was the maximum of her abilities. But even so, I saw that scientific research on existing spells can provide the basis for the foundation of an interstellar civilization. It remains only to understand why I need this civilization.

Finally, I felt that I had mastered enough magic to use the most puzzling spells from my ancestral heritage. This moment I have long marked for myself as a turning point in my life. I moved to the place chosen for the construction of the future city and laid there a building in which my descendants were supposed to grow and train.

After extracting one egg from seal, I placed it in a special room and began to observe the process of maturation, simultaneously controlling the surrounding conditions. I, unlike my northern relatives, were primarily interested in getting a female with the most developed intelligence and magic. Two weeks later, a small spider was born, which I immediately began to bring up, inspiring the thoughts I needed.

I was going to build a society where the spiders would not be afraid to express their opinions, where the gifted could benefit the society, and the selfish, envious and power-hungry individuals were ruthlessly destroyed. The last moment was extremely important, because even a small stratum of such individuals is able to decompose any society into a wolf pack.

I never considered myself a good educator. Yes, I tried not to have anything to do with children, but then I had to pretty much strain, teaching the spider's pure mind to all the intricacies of the future life. Alas, this individual did not fit my strict standards. The queen put not only genetic memory into her eggs, but also her thoughts and emotions. And what could be expected from that fool? It is quite natural that her daughter began to show not the best traits of character.

Fortunately, the spiders reached sexual maturity within six months. So I waited for this time, fertilized the female, and then with the help of mental magic I controlled the whole process of the formation of the embryo. The second generation was already much better, since I completely isolated the new female from communication with her mother, sending her to the afterlife. Another half a year passed, and I brought out the third generation. This time, the reason for the culling was not consciousness, but heredity.

Spiders had no problems with closely related crossbreeding. We were created artificially. Our DNA had no defects, and errors in the reproduction process were corrected at the stage of development of the eggs. But at the same time, the DNA of the spider was extremely versatile. At the time of formation of the egg, restrictions were placed on the activation of different genes. This program could be partially circumvented by setting the external conditions for the formation of eggs, but in the end, it was too much influence on the spider born.

This knowledge was sewn up at the genetic level, but only females had access to it. Therefore, I learned about such details only from a completely loyal individual. And no matter how sorry I was, I had to sacrifice her to my eugenistic policy in order to overcome all the restrictions that had been imposed on spiders for six thousand years.

The third generation was considered successful, so I gave my future wife a suitable name - Lolth. It is quite symbolic, in my opinion. I even admit the possibility that one day she will truly become the goddess of the dark elves.

Then I started the breeding program at full capacity, and all my time for the next year was completely taken care of the offspring. But then, the grown-up descendants took the destiny into their own hands, and I could only direct them towards the development of civilization.

Ten years later, the island was covered with pleasing cities, fields for crops and lakes for fish farming. At the same time, concern for nature was one of the priorities, so most of the territory now resembled elf parks.

The island's population was divided into three castes — magicians, warriors, and workers. The latter moved the economy, magicians developed science, and the warriors ... the soldiers only sighed and arranged endless teachings. After all, no enemies within a radius of a couple of thousand kilometers were observed. However, I did not relax, but rather tried to adapt the ever-active warriors as the driving force of evolution. Under their vigilant supervision, the magicians developed spider aviation, the workers built a pair of flying aircraft carriers, and I got to the idea of conquering the whole world.

Of course, it was named not as a "conquest", but as an "extension of the habitat". First of all, scientists have designed a long-range aircraft capable of being in the air for months. The engines he worked on magic, fed by workers on duty. A long-term "autonomy" was achieved by placing on board a portal capable of carrying the crew or food through any distance directly to the base.

The plane itself was made according to the quadcopter scheme. Four engines could change orientation in space, providing decent cruising speed and vertical landing. The engine device was terribly banal too. It was a wide ring-artifact, which was cast spell pushing the air in a given direction. As a result, the similar engine carried out function of the propeller, but at the same time did not rustle and was deprived of moving parts.

Magic made the solution of many problems not simple, but very simple. The only problem was getting enough magical energy. I decided it by breeding a special breed of workers with particularly developed magic cores. These, perhaps, were the most respected and free members of society. Each such spider carried a battery on their back, where it threw off the generated energy. Every two hours, this energy was dumped into a common network and directed to the needs of society. A worker could engage in any activity of his choice, until it was time to discharge the battery again.

Alas, I never managed to create enough capacious drives so that there could be stored a lot of energy. It was just like with electricity. You can create a battery for the phone, but it is impossible to save energy sufficient for the life of the city throughout the year.

After the construction of the first two planes, I sent them to create a map of the planet. The first results were obtained after a week, and they were ... depressing. There were really only three continents on the planet. Two of them were at the poles and now were covered with a multimeter layer of snow. The third continent was half the size of Australia and could boast of impassable jungle occupying its entire area.

The only strange thing was the relatively small desert in the western part of the mainland. Strange border seemed to me between the jungles boiling with life and barren wastelands. And when one of the planes flew closer to look at it, an amazing picture opened up at all.

Thousands and millions of humanlike creatures walked along the jungle border and methodically destroyed all vegetation and animals. Moreover, they used magic. Through binoculars from the aircraft it was clearly visible that spells such as fireball or earth spikes were used. The description of this magic is found in the chronicles of past wars.

I decided not to cut with hot, and watch the mysterious enemies. Well, what else could there be beings that actually destroy the biosphere? After a couple of days, it became clear that the border of the desert was moving further and further east. Having made small calculations, I came to the conclusion that the invaders began their work no more than six months ago. And if they continue in the same spirit, they will clear the continent from edge to edge in five years. I did not like this prospect.

At first I threw a recon group into the jungle. Very dangerous wild creatures dwelled here, but they did not pose a special threat to trained soldiers. After that, an operation was carried out to capture one of the invaders, no matter how strange it sounds. An autopsy conducted literally on the knee showed that we are dealing with the undead. In particular, I got the corpse of an orc, in which the spirit of a forest elf was infused with magic. Alas, the mental magic available to the soldiers could not penetrate into the consciousness of the undead, and even my clone who took part in the operation did not achieve better results.

But there were also positive moments in the whole operation. Characteristic signs in the spells of necromancy said that there were demons behind the invaders. These creatures were one of the parties in the last war. Personally, they preferred not to go into battle, instead sending the undead forward. They could not multiply, but instead received reinforcements through portals leading to their demonic world.

I flipped all the information in my head about this race, after which I gave the task to the soldiers to find and capture the demon. The ratio between the undead and demons as a rule did not exceed one in a thousand. Fortunately, the undead did not pay any attention to the plane, soaring at a height of eight kilometers. Especially considering the fact that the aircraft was covered with a disguise. So my troops could only soar in the sky and watch.

A week later, we were able to find the camp of the demons, where not less than a dozen of them lived. After that, a hostage-taking operation was planned. In addition to the huge convertoplanes in service of my army, there were single quadrocopters equipped with heavy blasters. At least that's what these magical artifacts looked like. The plane went down to a height of a couple of kilometers, after which the sash opened in the back and threw three dozen quadcopters out.

The airborne landing dropped and conducted a massive bombardment of the terrain from blasters, destroying the undead. Though they possessed magic, they did not differ in special strength, and therefore could not hold shields under the pressure of high-tech magic. The demons tried to resist, but could not counter the massive shelling with paralyzing spells. Some of them fled and hid in the corners, but I got four prisoners. Given the lack of losses on my part, the operation could be considered successful.

The interrogation of demons, which I arranged on an underground base, quickly built in the mountains of the continent, showed an interesting picture. The current "invasion" was just a brigade of workers sent to clean the "no man's" world. Originally, the portal from the world of demons was opened in the north. It was a long-known passage, and the first visitors were greatly surprised to find a densely compacted mass of snow and ice on the other side. But then they excavated the portal site, made a "snow-covered" base and sent a small army to this mainland. The demons had a map of the planet, so the delivery of troops did not make any special problems. Initially, the undead moved to the south under their own power, and after reaching the open water, ships were made of magical ice, which transported the entire army.

The goal of this whole expedition was to transform the planet into another world of demons. And for this it was necessary to get rid of the local biosphere, correct the energy of the planet, and then arrange an icy hell at the poles and lava hell on the central continent. I had no plans for such plans, so I decided to engage in the genocide of the newcomers. Fortunately, their knowledge of geography also left much to be desired, and they did not even know about the existence of my islands. So I just had to put into practice the results of many years of training sessions of the warrior caste.

I decided to start with the simplest - air terror. Each of the airplanes became a mobile portal through which thousands of spiders on quadcopters were selected to the continent. Those flew at a safe altitude of a kilometer and bombed all targets within reach. Undead and demons were dangerous only for ground targets within a radius of hundreds of meters, and therefore could not do anything. Of course, the losses in my troops were, but these were isolated cases caused by successful hits of spells created by the strongest of lichas.

My "blasters" had an effective firing range of ten kilometers with each charge self-homing. The spell was so complicated that even a trained magician could create it in at least five minutes. That's just the use of artifacts, allowed to shoot at a speed of ten shots per second, which created an irresistible superiority in firepower. Knowledge again defeated brute force.

Simultaneously with the start of hostilities, I gave the command to begin mass production of aircraft carriers. Still, four aircraft - it is too few. Moreover, they were mounted tools more powerful, and they may be needed in the future. I did not want to use a nuclear weapon, because its efficiency was low, and it added fairly bad radiation problems. Nuclear bombs are good for big cities. And against the scattered forces of the enemy, it is almost useless.

The destruction of the invading army quickly moved into a phase of struggle with partisan forces. And again, the circumstances were on my side. Undead practically did not take the initiative, and therefore could reasonably act only under the control of a magician. The wasteland created by magic did not have shelters, and in the forest the undead quickly became a victim of predatory animals. So the demons could only dig underground passages and hide in them. To their misfortune, I had scanning spells to detect sources of magical energy. As a result, after a couple of days, almost all the demons escaped through the portals to the main base, leaving the undead to their fate.

The population of my island was almost a million spiders, of which about a third were warriors. And they all sought to take part in the war, rightly believing that there would not be enough enemies for all of them. However, there was still hope for the demons to retaliate, so the industry of my civilization embarked on military rails, producing equipment and equipment for each of the soldiers.

While there was a final sweep of the central continent, intelligence was watching the enemy's main base. Here the demons have long got rid of the snow cover, so that the portal was on the site open to all winds. The next day after the start of the war, the entire territory was covered from above with a power shield that was supposed to protect against air attacks. And I did not try to disbelieve demons in its effectiveness. Everything has its time.

A week later, the scouts told me about increased activity in the camp. It soon became clear that the enemy is serious. If the previous army was in the millions, then this time the bill went to billions. A special network of spells opened many portals in the vicinity of the base, connected with the central interworld portal, after which troops were flooded onto the planet. It was difficult to find out their exact composition, because from above they were all covered with opaque shields, and ground reconnaissance risked landing on the enemy's head, since the army occupied almost the entire available surface. However, it was obvious that a large part of this army is again infantry or, at best, cavalry.

I don't know what the demons were hoping for, but as soon as the intelligence reported that the troop transfer was over and the portals were closed, I gave a signal to attack. Since then, we have been able to rivet in haste over three thousand aircraft carriers. And all this horde immediately rushed to the north. There, the aircraft lined up in a fighting formation at a height of ten kilometers and opened fire from all guns.

The power of aircraft carrier weapons was essentially limited to the power of the power source. Artifacts could convert almost any amount of magical energy into plasma charges. During the attack, more than a hundred spiders poured energy on each plane. But the development of the power of the magic core was one of the most important practices in the life of any spider.

In general, the plasma rain poured on the ground swept off all the shields in less than a second, after which all the assembled troops turned to ashes, especially since they were extremely compact, almost shoulder to shoulder. The area around the main portal defended much better, so that there the shield breakouts were sporadic.

After just ten minutes, ninety percent of the army of demons was destroyed. All the snow in the vast territory melted, leaving behind boiling lakes. And here, even I, on the other side of the globe, felt anger and rage emanating from the leader of the army of demons. However, this psychic attack did not make much of an impression on us. After all, spiders are innate telepaths. And broadcasting your emotions to others is actually signing up on your impotence.

Then the shield over the central portal was vanished, and thousands or even millions of dragons rushed into the air. More precisely, dragon zombies. From a distance, these animals looked majestic, but when looking through the optics, putrid stains were visible, peeking through the wounds of the bone and the mechanistic movements of the wings.

Millions of dragons against three thousand aircraft carriers. It would seem that my troops were doomed ... only I thought otherwise. In this battle I will win without loss at all. At my command, the aircraft carriers accelerated and began to gain altitude, while simultaneously shooting opponents from cannons. Dragons struggled to flap their wings, dodging my shells and soaring higher and higher. Two kilometers, four, six ... after reaching this border it became clear that the one born to crawl cannot fly. Although the dragons were magical animals, their wings were not for beauty, but for "pumping" the air. And the higher the undead flew up, the thinner the air became, and the more often they had to flap their wings.

The height of seven kilometers was the ceiling for necro-aviation. Dragons flapped their wings faster than flies, but they could not climb a meter higher. And in ten seconds the undead reached the limit of strength, and their wings began to fall off. Stupid zombies tried at all costs to carry out an order, destroying the joints and muscles that set the wing in motion. As a result, the flesh literally scattered into pieces, condemning the disabled to an uncontrollable fall.

At this time, my aircraft flew at a height of fifteen kilometers, shooting defenseless targets in a dash. In principle, by directing half of the available energy to the engines, the plane could reach a height of thirty kilometers. Even on Earth, not every earth-to-air missile can rise to such a height. But I didn't need additional tricks.

Desperate demons began to shoot up the strongest spells. Here are just all of these spells had one of two drawbacks. Or their attack was quick, but scattered in the air at a relatively short distance, or could fly away, but ... slowly. Fifteen kilometers is a pretty decent distance. So it cost the huge fireballs to rise above the level of the dragons, as each charge immediately sought to shoot each of the planes. It is quite obvious that in the end, enemy spells exploded too far from their targets. And the enemy could not arrange a massive attack with thousands of charges. Judging by the density of fire, the whole army of demons could be compared with a maximum of a dozen of my aircraft carriers.

It was a rout. Even before the last dragon was destroyed, intelligence recorded the opening of the portal, in which all the remaining demons disappeared. The remains of the army of the undead were again abandoned. Apparently the demons valued their lives above the "lives" of several millions of elite zombie mages.

Subsequent actions of my army could be described as "tedious clearing the area." Undead did not offer much resistance, but on the other hand, they strove to crawl around the neighborhood and crouch deep in the gap. This was complicated by the fact that I did not want to destroy the base of demons, where many of their magical artifacts remained. Also, we managed to capture a couple of dozen live demons who miraculously survived the bombarding. And most importantly, one of the prisoners turned out to be almost an archmage, whom my soldiers dragged out literally from the other world, healing him, if I may say so, from the almost complete fragmentation of the body.

For the next three years I studied the loot, at the same time directing the development of the central continent. The magic of demons was extremely unusual. I was most interested in the magic of souls. This direction was vital for any demon, and therefore each of them was a professional in this field.

The fact of the matter was that the demons had amazing control over magical energy. Any of the most difficult spells interlaced them in a split second. And at the same time, the rate of regeneration of energy in the magical source of their body was so scanty that they couldn't even speak of any use of magic from their reserves. But on the other hand, each demon could enslave the souls of living beings, which were used as a generator of the energy they needed so much.

It should be noted that the soul itself does not produce so much magical energy. About the same as the demons themselves. But it is worthwhile to place it in a suitable body, as this construction can make even archmags sob from envy. Of course, the demons could not create artificial bodies, but could make their ersatz counterparts on pure magic, using crystals as an anchor. As a result, the captured soul became a source of energy. Not the strongest source, but rather useful. And there were two approaches to their use.

First, the demon could take this energy to itself, creating incantations of insane power. This approach was limited to the maximum number of souls that a demon could unite into a common network. In addition, these souls were supposed to be in close proximity to him. So "the great archmage of demons" in fact appeared to them only if they constantly carried with them a car and a small cart of stones with souls.

The second use of stones was to raise the undead. It is quite obvious that demons took away the best souls for themselves, and tried to adapt any garbage somewhere. And the undead was a great solution. Even the very last peasant, being turned into a zombie, got the ability to magic. So it remained only to introduce into his consciousness the program of submission and send him to kill the enemies, at the same time providing traps for souls. It turned out a kind of network marketing, as a result of which the speed of conquering undeveloped worlds exceeded the growth rate of Herbalife branches in post-construction Russia.

For three years, I not only figured out how demons use people's souls, but also figured out how people use demons' souls. Due to their ability to subtly manipulate energy, the souls of demons were excellent blanks for the production of artifacts. For example, to adjust the production of "blasters", my scientists had to spend three years to calculate the structure of the spell, which could be put into an artifact. And then a similar effect could be achieved in a day. True, my artifacts could be stamped in the millions, but for the artifacts from the souls of demons these very souls were needed. It could even be considered a serious shortcoming, if not for one thing.

Demons could control spells of mind-blowing complexity. One average demon could create a spell that even a hundred spiders could not hold. It is good that rather primitive individuals opposed me. Perhaps, in their attitude to "magical research" the demons were even worse than the spiders from my "native" colony. All they could do was cast spells developed by magicians who had fallen into spiritual slavery.

So, it was enough to theoretically calculate the structure of the spell I needed, and then force the demon to create this structure and inject energy into it. So it was possible "on the knee" to create artifacts that are capable of completely impossible things. For example, I managed to create an anti-gravity engine that opened the way to space. Or I could open a portal with a diameter not in a measly three meters, but in all three hundred meters. After that, carry out a small adjustment of the parameters and expand the portlet to three kilometers.

In general, the whole society of spider-mages was clear that we need more demons. Naturally sealed in stones of souls and used in magical artifacts. What we were able to capture during the conduct of hostilities was enough only for experiments. And then, the queue by appointment was already busy for the year ahead. There was only one way out - to open a portal to the world of demons and mine them there on an industrial scale.

Before breaking into other worlds, I decided to send a reconnaissance expedition. It included a dozen warriors, a couple of magicians, a couple of workers and ... my clone from the chakra. On the entire planet, only I owned this kind of energy and could create clones. I was not sure how stable the clone would be when it was in another world, so it was also a kind of experiment.

Opening the portal was not a problem, because we had a demon who was well aware of the principles of his work. Although under normal circumstances the opening portal led to a strictly defined place, it was possible to form a so-called "wandering portal". There was no way to find out exactly where it would open, except that this point would be at a distance of no more than a few hundred kilometers from the main portal. Yeah, for example, hundreds of kilometers down or up.

In general, from the fifth attempt we managed to open the portal not in the depths of magma and not in near space, but only a couple of kilometers from the earth. It was extremely difficult to keep it open for a long time, so my clone jumped into the opened tunnel, and after I became convinced that it was functioning quite normally even in another world, although I was directly controlled from this, fourteen suicide bombers went to the portal. The way back for them was now possible only after the start of a full-fledged invasion from our world.

The flight went smoothly. Spiders used a levitation spell based on air flow control. In some ways it was an analogue parachute. I used a similar technique that works on the chakra. Alas, I could not transfer magical energy over long distances, and even more so to other worlds. The truth was unclear how the chakra dealt with it. In some matters, this energy was far less clear than ordinary magic.

While we were flying down, I looked at the neighborhood. How was the Bible said? Was the earth unthinkable and empty? That's exactly what the demons worlds said. I think even Mars would look more picturesque. Around stretched yellow-brown wasteland, only here and there decorated with sloping hills. There is no water, no plants. But, from time to time there are demons. These creatures either chased someone, or ran away from someone. This is life!

Our appearance did not cause much confusion. I think that simply no one noticed us, because the local inhabitants preferred not to look at the sky, but on the sides. The sky, by the way, also did not differ in special beauty - the slurred dimness evenly glowed with a light gray light, not giving even a hint that the sun somewhere exists.

A clone of problems with physiology could not arise, but the spiders felt that the air pressure here is much less than on my planet. Yes, and oxygen could be detected only in the composition of carbon dioxide. The demons didn't seem to need to breathe. So my companions switched to life support through magic. It was one of our developments for interstellar flights. The spider surrounded its body with a protective barrier that kept the air under the necessary pressure, plus a special spell was activated in the lungs that turned water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. It did not replace a full power supply, but allowed to survive in a hostile environment for at least a month.

After landing, we immediately went for the nearest demon. We needed a "language" capable of telling where we were. After half an hour of rapid running, we became richer by one demon soul. He was spiritually poor, and therefore could not resist our magic in principle. He has no energy.

The interrogation of a soul sharpened in a crystal made it possible to understand that we landed in an area that even the demons called "Dead Wasteland". To the castle we needed with the portal was almost two hundred kilometers in a straight line. But it's too early for us there. Instead, we decided to visit a small "lair" of demons a hundred kilometers the other way. The gang sitting there was considered quite strong, and most importantly, they looked like spiders on the surface, which was quite interesting.

As we advanced, we hunted the demons running past. This behavior was not surprising to any of the victims. On the contrary, only seeing us on the horizon, they immediately began to run away, developing a maximum speed. Having reached the "lair", we found the entrance to the cave, around which something like a fortress was erected. Building materials were stones. Actually, there were no other materials here.

- Whoo are it , why do you need? - Mentally squealed by one of the denizens, it barely became clear that we were not just passing by, but heading straight for them. Because of the rarefied atmosphere, the demons also preferred to communicate telepathically.

We didn't get up to the polemics, but tritely attacked with dot spells, aiming at the demons who sat behind the walls. Those, it seems, did not expect anything else, because the first charges collided with power shields. After a small exchange of attacks, I appreciated the strike force of the demons as low, and then gave the command to use weapons. The "blasters" of the pistol caliber were brought to a combat state, after which the demons were destroyed in just five seconds. Reinforced charges without problems punched through thick stone walls and several layers of magical protection. The bodies of the demons could not provide any resistance at all.

After removing the souls from the mutilated bodies, the workers began to repair the fortifications, interrogating the soldiers, and scientists began an autopsy, trying to figure out the reason for the incredible similarity of this type of demons and us.

Putting what we learned during the interrogation with the results of the research, we found out that the spiders are distant relatives of demons. They were brought out artificially by crossing demons and ordinary insects, since magic allowed them and not so. After that, a part of the experimental persons escaped and returned to the world of demons. Then they somehow adapted to living on lifeless worlds, and then completely settled on a multitude of demonic domains, taking up not a bad position there. Unlike ordinary demons, spider demons retained the beginnings of magical cores, and therefore could "magish" without having captured souls.

It was good for us, because here we were going to organize a small base in which we could create an oxygen atmosphere and start growing food. For those around us, we remained the same demons as spiders, since the appearance of my relatives needed to be corrected not so much.

In parallel with the arrangement, we studied the local political situation. We were in a relatively small domain, the rules of which are tiny but archdemon. By the way, the domain was a planetoid with a diameter of a couple of thousand kilometers, surrounded by a force field that retains the atmosphere and creates artificial gravity. Here it was not the earth that attracted to itself, but the sky pressed on those who dared to be under it.

Fortunately, most of the time the archdemon was engaged in his personal affairs, and was absent in this world. He was last seen here more than three hundred years ago. And in his absence, a certain Rabator, whose army we destroyed a few years ago, led the affairs. In general, in a society of demons, greed was considered almost the main virtue. Over the thousands of years of his reign, Rabator has collected many souls of mortals. But he did not even think of sharing them with other demons, instead raising an innumerable army of the undead. Having lost it during the last campaign, the demon lost almost all respect for himself.

No one had accurate information, but rumors circulated that the whole army was destroyed in a flash by some rebellious god. Now Rabator was sitting in his castle and saving up his anger in order to launch an attack on one of the human worlds, where he was going to gain more "meat". His personal power did not suffer, because he managed to escape from the battlefield, along with all his stock of souls of great magicians.

While the subordinates were being mastered at the new place of residence, I was thinking how we would achieve our intended goal. The goal, in fact, was to capture the portal from this side and create a full-fledged base from which one could raid the souls of demons. A simple forehead attack was meaningless. We could kill wild demons with little or no resistance. But in the "capital" each had a property of at least ten souls. Rabator also showed his abilities during the battle on my planet. If it were not for the distance, it is still unknown which of us would be the winner.

Of course, it would be possible to use the already proven thermonuclear weapon, only an explosion of sufficient power could well damage the portal. Plus, there were too many strong demons in the city whose souls we needed so much. Fortunately, a few days later the solution to this problem found us.

In contrast to the demons that lived before us, we did not confine ourselves to simple external observation, but established a whole network of tracking spells, which made it possible to detect any enemy in advance. And just the group of such violators, we recorded, while they were still only twenty kilometers away. The demons of the wastelands preferred to live alone. And here they were a whole detachment of a couple of dozen individuals. They moved straight towards us, so that the entire population of the base was instantly raised in alert.

At about five kilometers the group was divided. A dozen hid in a small hollow, and the rest continued on their way to us. Similar tactics said that most likely they would not attack us. However, who knows these demons. I and a couple of spiders climbed onto the walls and covered themselves with shields, while the others hid not far from the exit from the cave to the surface, waiting for the development of events.

“Who is in charge here? Come out.”

“Do you want to fight?”

There was only one parliamentarian in front of us, in appearance resembling a cross between a slug, a monkey and a centipede. Among the demons some standard of appearance was not, so that the individual by local concepts could easily merge with the gray mass of "ordinary people". Eight of his companions stood at a distance, watching the negotiations from a safe, in their opinion, distance.

In response to my question, the demon cowardly retreated a couple of steps back and hurried to assure me of his peaceful intentions. Among the demons, this behavior was rather unusual. The presence of peaceful intentions for the local mentality was a dangerous anomaly, testifying to insidious designs.

“No. I came to give you an order from Rabator.”

“Can you prove? Something you do not look like a messenger. Rather similar to the ordinary wild.”

The demon swallowed the insult and squinted at his comrades. Separated from the crowd is another demon that looked more respectable. The point was not in an almost humanoid appearance, but in the magic shields surrounding him, which indicated that we had at least a few souls.

“I am the messenger of Rabator. And he order you, petty creatures, to arrive in his city in eleven days to take the military oath.” It seems that the fact that I did not kill the "parliamentary" as soon as I saw this messenger was perceived as a sign of weakness or of the very cunning peaceful intentions. Painfully defiant and impudent intonations were transmitted through his mental speech.

"Just because you stole a couple of souls from someone doesn't make you a messenger." - I objected. “Fall down and pray for forgiveness, if you do not want me to tear you to pieces and gobble up alive.” The demons were extremely tenacious creatures, so my threats were perfectly executable. Spiders would have disdained such a ‘breakfast’, but my clone could gobble up and not like that.

This time I guessed with the style of communication adopted here. No, the demon was not going to fall on his face, but the arrogance in his thoughts diminished.

“Behold the sign of Rabator, a vile creature.”

The ambassador stretched his arms up and a fire sign appeared above him, spreading the aura of the ancient demon. I turned to the memory of one of the previous inhabitants of the cave. His soul was sealed in stone, and reading the memory was only a matter of using a weak spell, the energy for which the clone took from the crystal.

Over all, it turned out that this is a real messenger. A military oath was one of the stages of preparation for a military campaign. The demons did not tolerate any restriction of their will in the form of magical oaths. But on the other hand, the leaders of the campaign were also not eager to invite demons into their army who could at any moment hit in the back. For such situations, and was developed by the military oath. It was a temporary contract subordinating one demon to another. The reward was, of course, the soul, but rather the opportunity to get them. Under standard conditions, the demon could get one soul out of ten captured. At the same time, the demon was obliged to kill the victim personally, since the souls of the slain by the undead belonged to the master of the undead. In general, the conditions were enslaving, but wild demons were happy and so. For them it was the only chance to get at least one soul.

Another important condition for taking the oath was that at one time it was taken from a relatively small number of demons. After all, Rabator did not need endless hordes of wild demons under the walls of his city. Such a situation could turn into a spontaneous assault. So demons were invited to take the oath in small groups. And it concerned only strong groups or outstanding singles. Such a group was considered the previous inhabitants of the cave.

Finally, the most important circumstance was that the Rabator took the oath personally. It is quite natural that he could not take an oath from millions of demons. Therefore, only a select few were granted a personal audience with him — future generals, who then themselves had to run through their territory and recruit wild ones, forcing them to take an oath to themselves. So the current situation was the rarest chance to meet personally with the ruler of the entire domain. Of course, I could not miss it. But one more thing remained.

This invitation was not only a way of communication, but also a test in which I had to show my leadership skills. And what is to be a leader in the society of demons? This, of course, strive to row everything for themselves, regardless of the consequences. For this, the second group remained, which now watched us with the help of tracking spells. But on the other hand, the manifestation of disrespect towards Rabator could also adversely affect the fate of a potential general. So there should have been a balance.

“I see that you have stolen not only the soul, but also the sign of the messenger.” I delighted the demon with his conclusion. “Let Rabator take care of your fate, but accomplices of this heinous crime will be my prey.”

I focused for a second and used one of the most punchy paralyzing spells I knew. The shining ball pierced the magic shield like paper, and the messenger huddled in convulsions. The spell combined paralysis, physical destruction of nerves and electric shock. Although the biophysics of demons was quite different from the protein life forms, the spell had a great effect on them.

“Dispose these rabble.” I gave the command to my two attendants.

Spiders rushed forward, on the move rushing killer spells. Of the eight remaining demons, three more were owners of souls. But it did not help them much. The previous inhabitants would have been here, even with the whole crowd they could not have caused the three of them at least some harm. Still, the magical cores of spider demons were frankly frail, and the entire stock of souls since the last war was confiscated after an attack by a large group of punishers who saved wild demons from excessive power. But my two warriors were veterans, seasoned by years of daily training and sparring. They passed through the demons like a red-hot knife through butter, leaving behind only mutilated bodies in which life was barely warm.

The demons, of course, tried to escape, but no one ran beyond a couple of hundred meters. I gave another command, and the five warriors rushed to catch up with the second group, which already ran off at full speed. But those chances were not any. Over the past few days we have seen that the only protection of local residents is their legs and their ability to actively move them. So I developed and taught my companions a spell that greatly increased the speed of the run. As a result, the spiders run through the local wastelands at the speed of racing cars, since there were no obstacles on the ground.

The prey, which itself fell into our hands, was good: eighteen still living demons and twelve souls of various intelligent beings - from goblins to elves. We dragged the messenger away to the wasteland, where we were left to come round. The label imposed on him was an excellent defense against the wild, as it made it clear that this demon was the messenger of Rabator, and therefore attacking him is the best way to ensure eternity of unspeakable suffering.

We spent the next ten days preparing for an adventurous operation to seize a whole city of demons. This was our only chance, so my companions had to either succeed or die on the way to it. Like a clone, this fate did not frighten me.

The plan was simple and bold. It based himself on the fact that none of the demons had ever heard of such energy as chakra. Everybody possessed magic here, but none of the locals even perceived the energy from the tail of the bija. And since the time of my existence Naruto still had a mega-bun - my "genjutsu". I was going to get to the Rabator at a distance of direct visibility and subjugate his consciousness. Each inhabitant of the city of demons, either directly or through the commander, swore an oath of allegiance to the vicar of the archdemon. Therefore, he could, by simple mental effort, kill or paralyze any of his vassals. That's what I was going to use.

After submission, the demon paralyzes the entire population of the city and orders to remove all types of magical protection. And my companions will use a massive paralyzing spell. After that, it remains only to open a portal to our world and start collecting souls. Of course, in a few minutes the Rabator will die, and the oath will cease to operate, but this time should be enough to provide us with the necessary advantage. Paralysis will give even more time, and on the other side of the portal more than one hundred thousand soldiers armed with the latest word of magical equipment are waiting for their turn. This we had to abandon almost all the artifacts, so as not to attract attention. And the main troops can even fight with an army of demons in their hometown.

I used all the captured demons to train my abilities. The first experimental subjects simply died in agony, but the latter were already completely in my power and were able to stretch not two, but ten minutes. Still, compared with humans, demons are much more enduring creatures.

And so, the D-day and H-hour came. Our detachment fled across the desert at the speed of an average demon, and the bulk of the city grew ahead. From a distance, this structure looked more like an anthill the size of a mountain. Or on a very, very conventional pyramid. As it approached, it became clear that the "construction of the century" is still ongoing. In some places the demons were busy building new walls, roads and rooms.

When there were about five kilometers to the city wall, we were surrounded by a crowd of hundreds of demons, each of which shone with magic like a New Year tree.

“Where are you going?” One of them asked, judging by the behavior of the squad leader.

“To meet with Rabator. He invited me to become the greatest general of his army.”

“Ha, so the greatest? All right, follow me. At your expense were special instructions.”

What was the essence of these instructions, the demon did not explain. Though I doubled my vigilance, I continued to radiate confidence. We got to the city, and I was able to assess the scale of this building close. Along the perimeter of a hundred meters, a continuous vertical wall rose above turning into a lagging surface in which windows and doors could be seen here and there, or even just aisle deeper. There was a gate right in front of us. From a distance, they seemed to be a small gate, but it was clear up close that even a battle tank would pass through them.

The flaps swung open, making it possible to gauge their thickness. More than a meter of enchanted metal shone with magic from spells embedded in it. It seems that I got excited that this structure can be destroyed with a thermonuclear bomb. More precisely, of course, it is possible, but at the same time there is a good chance to split the planet in half in one. On the other hand, soon it will all be mine. I smugly looked around, evaluating my future real estate.

Under the watchful guard, we were led through a maze of intricate corridors and stairs. I even got a little bored in the process. It has been a long time for our journey, which ended somewhere near the summit of the anthill. Finally, the next doors opened before us, and we entered a richly decorated hall, at the far end of which sat on a throne ... a very shabby-looking demon. The memory of the enslaved demons suggested that this is the Rabator.

We marched forward, and I found that the strongest magical barrier would separate us from the local ruler. The same barriers covered the walls, floor and ceiling. What is most indicative, our escorts did not enter with us, remaining standing in the corridor. Looks like a trap. I mean, my trap slammed shut, hooking up the booty.

“So here you are …” Uncertainly stretched Rabator.

“Yes, we are.” I confirmed. From the very first second I was in the room, I began to saturate the demon's brain with the chakra. Alas, I needed time to overcome his natural resistance. Those demons that I tried to subdue as quickly as possible, died before I got power over them.

“When the servants of the portal told me about the successful penetration of the scouts through the wandering portal, I wondered who was it so arrogant? But it turned out that these are the very creatures that vilely destroyed my army. Dike guess, this idea with the portal threw you Ighoral.”

“Ighural? The first time I've heard. Are you not talking about the demon that led the herd of zombie mammoths?”

“Mammoths? And yes, he managed a squad of siege beasts of forest elves. Looks like he managed to outwit you.” Demon ugly grinned at.

“I do not think so. Most likely, he was not asked about it, because no one was interested in whether you would know about our penetration here or not.” I brazenly lied. It will be necessary to wind the tails of our department of spatial research for the fact that they did not guess to ask such a question.

“How arrogant. The fact that you destroyed a detachment of my envoys caught my attention. You did not think that that group of observers was the only one?”

“So it was still your messengers? I had a better opinion of you. How can you be allowed to speak on your own behalf to such nonentities?”

The demon poured me a wave of irritation.

"So what did you want to achieve with all this fuss?" He asked, glaring at me.

"Well ... we planned to meet you in person, kill you, and then seize power in the city and in the whole domain." I listed, bending my fingers.

“As you can see, your plan failed.” Demon again smirked smugly. “You are trapped. Even the archdemon will not be able to get out of here. This is the most protected place in the city.”

“Actually, this is part of the plan.” The joyful grin of the demon turned into a frightened. “This is the most protected place in the city. So, when you and all the inhabitants of this city die, we will remain safe.”

“You are lying! The demon shouted, jumping up from his throne.”  Want me to take off the barrier? Do not be this.”

"Oh ... and how are you going to kill us then? After all, we are protected from all sides.”

The demon again smiled and put his ass on the seat.

"I don't want to kill you. You will be tortured for centuries. And sooner or later I will find out the answers to all the questions that interest me. But the answer to one question I would like to hear right now. How were you going to impersonate demons, if your aura is not hidden?”

Oops! But this is a puncture. Apparently, the bodies of demons have some special way of perception. Spiders didn't see anything of the kind.

“It's a secret.”

“Ha. Better admit that you didn't even suspect that any demon is able to see through your game at a glance.”

I sent outward a feeling of irritation that I was really experiencing. That there should have been so fucked up. Something my security service does not catch mice at all. And I am also good, I did not recheck everything myself. No wonder they say: if you want to do something well, do it by yourself. In the meantime, the demon smiled and continued to speak.

"Though your disguise is very entertaining. You have no aura at all. What is it? Some kind of artifact.” My irritation increased. “Yes, I knew it! This is an artifact. Hey, when you grab them, hit the main thing not so much. I do not want such a valuable thing to suffer.”

"Do you really think this garbage is a valuable thing?" I pulled a small crystal out of the chitin fold that replaces my pocket. A simple spell was inserted into it, forcing it to shine with all the colors of the rainbow and emit a ‘powerful and mysterious’ magical aura. That came in handy toy. “If you liked him so much - hold. I still have at home.”

I waved my hand, and the shining crystal flew towards the demon. At the same moment I activated my ability and intercepted the control of his consciousness. The moment was so appropriate that Rabator did not even have time to realize that he fell under my influence. His eyes clung to the priceless treasure, flying straight into his hands. With a quick telepathic command, he removed the barrier from the trap and caught the crystal. Greed swept over him, another mental impulse paralyzed all the demons in the city, ordering them to stand still, remove their magical defenses and wait for further instructions. And then, his eyes focused on the magical glow of the crystal, and the mind no longer perceived anything but it.

“My darling ... “ Managed to think Rabator, before losing consciousness.

I was a little distracted from the control of another's consciousness and controlled the situation with my feelings. Fourteen spiders coped with their task and activated the highest paralysis spell, investing almost all of their energy in it, plus a supply of storage devices. The time has come for the second part of the plan.

I scanned the demon's consciousness and found out the location of the portal to other worlds. It was located in the city center at ground level. Actually right below us. The road there was long and winding, so I decided on a little vandalism. The spiders picked up the helpless ruler of the demons, after which I activated the Doton technique, revealing a hole in the floor leading to the desired level. If I used magic, then I would have to overcome the resistance of protective spells. But the chakra simply ignored this layer of reality, moving the spells together with matter.

A minute later we were standing in the hall of the portal. I was left to control Rabator, and my loyal minions began to activate the portal. To open it, I needed a breakthrough of energy, but it had to come from the side of my world. All we had to do was turn off the security module in the portal control mechanism and accept the ‘incoming call’.

Finally, after five minutes, the portal opened, and a stream of spiders rushed out of it, which immediately began to cordon off the premises, further immobilize the demons and spread through the buildings of the city. My plan to take over the world went into the main phase, where all I needed was general guidance.

The capture of the city of demons was, though not bloodless, but in general, in accordance with the plans. The number of rooms and corridors was so huge that we did not have time to clean them all up before Rabator died, and the oath of allegiance to him ceased to work. But the positive thing was that we still did not allow the escape of witnesses, so that no one outside knew about the change of power.

For the next few months, we sent demons subordinate to mental magic to recruit "volunteers" and bring them to give an oath of allegiance to the city. Naturally, all those who arrived lost souls, and the spiders began to remotely control the bodies of some of them, creating the appearance of a normal flow of events. The problem with the auras of demons was solved easily. It was precisely the aura of the body, so that the "zombied" demons outwardly did not differ from the ordinary.

While the spiders were stocking valuable resources in the form of demon showers, I studied their books on magic. The Rabator had quite a decent library, where many works of magicians of various races were kept. In the possession of the main demon were also the souls of powerful magicians, whom I plowed as consultants for the material under study.

I tried to find at least some mention of the chakra, but instead I came across a slightly different phenomenon. In the world of Naruto, it was called Ki. From the standpoint of an ordinary observer, it was just a projection of negative emotions. But in reality it was a special substance that could be called the energy of sacrifice or the energy of worship. Perhaps it was this energy on Earth that was called “Bahion”.

Powerful demons could absorb this energy and use it for their own gain. And since, to begin with, energy had to be taken from somewhere, and then accumulated in sufficient quantity, then for this ... ta-dam! .. the demons created their own domains — isolated areas of space where Bakhion had accumulated for thousands of years until its density reached the right level. The source of this energy was the suffering of the enslaved souls, as well as the suffering of the demons themselves.

And then it turned out another interesting thing. That chakra tail that the Kyuubi brought me was created with the help of Bahioni. Moreover, I found a ritual describing the process of creating such energy centers tied to the soul. The bottom line was that you could take the souls of powerful demons, clean them of personality and memory, and then turn them into a kind of energy node that can be remembered, and then begin to reproduce almost any type of energy.

That is, once one fox demon collided with the chakra, appreciated its advantages, created nine energy centers with the help of Bahion and set them all up to reproduction of the chakra. Thus, the usual demon-devoid of magical energy became the "beast of the chakras," which was later called the Nine-Tailed.

I also set about trying to create such centers for myself. Moreover, there were a lot of demons' souls and the whole world at hand, filled with Bakhiony. Only unlike the Kyuubi, I was going to adjust each tail to my own type of energy. Still, chakra and magic were quite different, and where one faced difficulties, the second easily overcame them. Moreover, I could leave my future "tails" in a sleeping state and activate them only when I encounter suitable energy.

By the way, the magic of demons and other races was very different from the magic of spiders, although they were based on the same type of energy. Our magic was an exact mathematical science. There was no place for fortune-telling in the tea leaves. There were spell schemes, rules for manipulating and converting energy, and so on. But the demons primarily concentrated on their innate abilities. That is, on those "spells" that were invested in their body. Also, they could repeat the spell, read from the memories of the soul of the magician, but did not understand how this spell is arranged and why it works at all.

The third group was conventionally related to "human" magic. Spells in it were created due to emotions, faith and magical egregors. That is, for example, all forest elves believed that a certain combination of thoughts, emotions, and energies led to accelerated plant growth. And it led. But the exact mechanism of this impact was incomprehensible to them. One hundred generations of ancestors used this spell, and you use it. That was the main argument of the teachers of magic. This approach did not attract me, and therefore I studied this direction only for general development - in order to have an understanding of what I may encounter in the future.

I completly moved to the world of demons, completely immersed in the process of developing the ritual of obtaining eight additional "tails". I decided not to be greedy, and limit myself to nine tails, like those of the Kyuubi. I think this restriction did not come from the ceiling. There was very little information in the books on this topic, so I had to think out quite a lot myself.

"The ritual of gaining tails" came out very difficult. The books on Bakhion were rather theoretical works, so I had to do a lot of experiments and in general become a kind of professor, the head of the whole Institute of High Magic. In order to accomplish the impossible for a mere mortal, I used chakra, the magic of spiders and the magic of sacrifices in ritual, the benefit of which the demons were no worse than the spiders or elves. I personally checked it.

Honestly, this plan in some way became my "Idea Fix". For days and nights I sat studying magic, artifacts, rituals and even sacred writings and philosophical treatises. Somewhere in the subconscious, I realized that my time was running out, and therefore I strove more and more towards my goal.

Much of my plan had to be simplified. I did something, based not on understanding, but on the results of carrying out full-scale experiments. Somewhere in the rush of creativity created an incredible fusion of magic and technology. But at one point, I realized - this is it! The whole ritual was completely lined up in my perfect spider consciousness, and I realized that I was just a step away from the fulfillment of a dream.

After that, there were three months of convulsive preparations, in which I somehow involved all the inhabitants of my world. Now all the resources of the civilization of spiders were focused on the fulfillment of my desire. After all, I was their ancestor, the source of all their knowledge, those who gave them the dream to reach the stars and gave meaning to their existence, bequeathed to spread the plague of life in the Universe. Millions of spiders built the Holy Ziggurat, traced the patterns of the ritual circle, cast spells, and prepared the victims.

And now, the moment of my triumph has come. Eight of the strongest demons I captured took their places in the sacrificial circles, and I was located in the center of a huge three-dimensional structure resembling a stepped pyramid. Oddly enough, the basic principles of the device ziggurat were copied from the city of demons by me. See, there they erected a temple to raise their archdemon. But the results of the development of this domain was destined to use me.

I was going to form eight "energy tails", using for this all the reserves of Bakhion in the domain. After that, one of the tails was to receive the setting for the magic of the spiders, for which more than one hundred thousand of my descendants had to support the ritual with their energy. And most importantly, I was going to invest in the structure of this kernel all my knowledge about magic. Even if I die and lose my memory, all the necessary knowledge and skills will pop up in my mind, after which the mechanism of restoring the memory of past lives will be activated.

Finally, all preparations were completed, and the ritual began. The most powerful streams of magical energy and chakras set in motion Bakhion, which began to concentrate inside the ziggurat and merge into me, at the same time undergoing the necessary transformations. Time passed, and the ritual went on. Minutes were compiled in hours, and hours in days. And all this time I was sitting in a trance, controlling the process of my exaltation. Here, the demons were killed, their souls cleaned, transformed and grafted onto my spiritual body. Divine energy poured into me, healing the spiritual wounds inflicted in the ritual process, filling me with divine will and transforming the once independent souls of demons into parts of me.

To a large extent, this ritual was an attempt to create a god. God from the machine, the sole purpose of whose existence was my exaltation. And now this essence has re-created me, giving my essence new qualities. And so, the ritual entered the final phase. Last but not least was a disguise.

It may have been naive of me, but I didn't want higher-order Being to notice the changes in me. I was going to hide the big after the little. Hide the presence of germs of the seven tails, parading the presence of two fully formed. The covers of mystery and divine veils hid the core of my soul behind false images and reflections. This part of the ritual was one hundred percent my own invention, albeit based on foreign scientific works. It was risky, but my research and experiments showed that this ritual should not have negative consequences for me.

After seven days and nights, the ritual was successfully completed. I got to my feet, stretched all four hands and carefully scanned myself in various ranges. I managed! Rejoicing filled me up. From now on I'm not just a man or a spider. I am the highest being that can conquer even death itself. Now it remains only to get used to their new abilities, and it will be possible to think about what to do next.

And here, the heavens opened, and the wrathful angels sounded, announcing the coming of the gods. The shield surrounding the domain burst, and the whole atmosphere began to evaporate into outer space. The magical underside of the world shuddered, and with a wild rattle a passage burst from it, from which a deity of incredible strength emerged. From the descriptions I learned the archdemon that created this world thousands of years ago.

“Who dared to destroy my domain?” There was an angry cry.

The power of thought of this deity was such that the spiders lost consciousness only after sensing its presence. Only the most experienced managed to build mental shields to maintain clarity of consciousness. The flow of anger, hatred, and the desire for death emanating from the archdemon forced every living creature on the planet to tremble. I did not escape this fate. Fortunately, my disguise made me indistinguishable from all other spiders, so I darted to the side and mingled with the crowd of my relatives.

"I will destroy! " The voice of the archdemon has reached such strength that thousands and thousands of my descendants died at that very moment. Even I received damage, unable to cope with the bubbling storm of wild magic. I gained a source of magical energy, but my control over it remained at the same level as an ordinary spider.

And here, as if only waiting for this moment, the heavens opened up once more, and I sensed the appearance of Being to this world, as well as several other entities similar to it. And although ... knowing this infection, you can be sure that It really was waiting for this moment.

“Fixed player attack on the opponent's figure.” Announced a strict and indifferent voice. In an incomprehensible way, I found myself pulled out of my usual layer of reality. The figures of Gods, Beings, Archdemons or by whom they were there more clearly manifested in my mind.

“What? It can not be!” The anger in the words of the Archdemon abruptly gave way to panic. “Just a mortal could not do that.”

“And nevertheless, the court found that the destruction of the domain was the result of the ritual of gaining strength. The lack of Bakhion in the inner loop led to the destabilization of the domain envelope, which collapsed due to careless following the instructions for its creation.” The voice continued its indifferent broadcasting. “The player Archdemon caused the destruction of the gaming domain, but at the same time in a fit of anger, he attacked the figure of another player and caused her incurable damage.

I did not consider my injuries as incurable, but, naturally, I did not declare it. From these comrades, they can tear off something vital from me, so that their words do not diverge from the matter. The overwhelming glances of the Deities converged on me and scanned in all the ranges available to them. To my relief, a second later they lost all interest in me. More precisely, the interest was lost by everyone except the Being.

“I take away his soul. In any case, this game can be considered complete.”

“I confirm.”

At this the divine visions let me go, and I again plunged into darkness. But this time I already realized my own existence. Now I was not just a soul, but partly a spiritual being. It is difficult to say how much I so hung in the void, but after a while I heard the voice of the Being.

“You again pleased me. I thought that you would simply disappear in this world, crushed by fate and circumstances, but you could not just survive. You destroyed the figure of another player, defeated his army, and then also substituted the Archdemon as idiot, forcing him to pay me a decent fee. You are also entitled to compensation from the Judge. Soon he will offer you to choose a special gaming ability. I advise you to think carefully before making a decision.”

“What kind of game? I don't even know the rules.”  I was indignant.

“You could have guessed everything by yourself.” Being exclaimed with displeasure.  “We prepare the playing field, arrange the figures, and then watch your life. Or do not observe, as it was at this time. In most cases, the figures are required to destroy all the figures of opponents. If there are other conditions of victory or some special rules, the figures are notified of them.”  Yeah, and he did not say a word about the restriction on the use of thermonuclear weapons in the world of Naruto. “Scenarios of games are different, but I am going to put you where this script is more or less known to you. Or where your life experience can come in handy. A small fraud on my part, but all within the rules. If you are killed, then you drop out of the game and receive punishment from me depending on the degree of your stupidity and dullness. Well, that's all. Think. And don't you dare to bother me with your questions. I already told you everything I wanted.”

Yes, I got an employer. If we are talking about the gaming ability, then obviously you can ask not just some kind of spell, but something related to the game itself. What threatens me the most? Of course, death. All other problems I can somehow try to solve.

As soon as I came to this conclusion, a source of blinding radiance appeared in front of me, which spoke in an indifferent voice.

“As compensation for the attack of the player you are given the opportunity to get one playing ability. What do you choose?”

"I want to be able to rise after death in such a way that this death is not considered to be my defeat in the game."

“Again, these cheater’s habits.” In an indifferent voice heard notes of discontent. “Good. In order to rise after death in relatively safe circumstances, you will need to spend one Justice Point. To earn points, you need to sacrifice one of the pieces to the Judge of Game. To do this, it is enough to kill the figure and, within five minutes, utter the phrase "I sacrifice this figure to the Judge." At the same time, your player does not receive any bonuses from such a murder.”

Heh, it seems to me that I had a way to leave the Being without any profit from my use at all. Okay, I'll think about it later.

“Thanks.” I answered to Judge. It seems that it is to him that I will make sacrifices. And he, too, is still a bug. Surely these deaths in the name of him for needed for something. However, my business is small. Dispose everybody. Another would thing, how to distinguish a player from a mere mortal?”

I thought there was a sniff coming from the Judge, after which the glow faded away, leaving me hanging in the dark.

“Well, how did it go?” Being again appeared.

“Wonderful.”  I grunted displeased.

The answer was a suspicious silence. A very, very long silence, filled with suspicion and doubt.

"Well, if no one knows what your ability is, then it will be much more difficult to counteract it." Finally a Being was born. “Well, since you are so clever, cunning and successful with you, then it is worthwhile to entrust you with something non-trivial. I have one game in my mind.”

The darkness blinked, and I again fell into unconsciousness, despite all my improved spiritual characteristics.



Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Humanity Salvation

When I awoke, I opened my eyes and found that I was sitting in a comfortable chair in a luxuriously furnished room. This time I got the body of a man, a middle-aged man, dressed in some form. Then I did not give a look around the voice of the Being that arose in my mind.

“So, the rules. Figures are forbidden to kill other figures. There are four of you in the game. The winner is determined by the Council of the Sages. The rest will be explained to you on the spot.”

As soon as the voice was silenced, the door in the wall on the side opened, and a man in some strange suit came out. However, if you do not go into details, then it was the usual set: shirt, pants, jacket.

“Mr. Sammael Tamuz, I ask you to follow me.” bowed guest. “Everything is ready for the presentation.”

I decided to go with the flow so far, so I followed the guide, who quickly glided along the corridors. Judging by the lack of windows, we were in some underground bunker. A few minutes later we went into the hall, where I was offered to sit in a large red armchair surrounded by black seats easier. In total, there were four such special chairs in the hall, so they were most likely intended for other game figures.

Ahead of us stood the rostrum, behind which was a large screen, now displaying a screensaver with an incomprehensible acronym ICOCOS. Small chairs almost all were occupied by various kinds of intelligentsia, and in red while I was just sitting. A couple of minutes later, the rest of the figures appeared. I did not see anything remarkable in them. People are like people. Although one was somewhat inhibited. Apparently, he was here suddenly. Or what a savage.

“So, gentlemen. Attention please.”

I was so carried away looking at the competitors that I didn't pay attention to the audience that appeared on the podium. And there was one human individual of a professorial appearance, who had now begun to speak, and two fat individuals of snickering bureaucrats. These are always easy to identify.

"If anyone knows, my name is Adolf Rigertstein. We have gathered you here to entrust a matter of prime importance. It is about, I will not be afraid to say this, the salvation of all mankind. Now I will bring you up to date, and then the distinguished Nikos Papadopoulos will address you on behalf of the Council of Sages.”

Then followed a detailed four-hour lecture, from which it became clear what I would have to deal with.

This world was rather technically advanced. Suffice it to say that space interstellar flights were absolutely common here. Another important factor was that many intelligent races lived in the galaxy. What is most funny, these were not incomprehensible chupacabras, but completely "familiar" to me elves, orcs, centaurs, kitsune and other creatures.

It is safe to say that all the mythical creatures ever mentioned in my world lived here. And as if this were not enough, all these races were also technically advanced. And in addition to this, they were also magically advanced. So much so that purely technical civilizations were crying with crocodile tears of envy.

As it is easy to guess, in such a "multinational" world, wars between different civilizations were constantly going on. The situation could be described as "everything against everyone and every man for himself". Such a meat grinder did not last for the first hundred years, and a very unpleasant fact gradually became apparent: humanity is losing.

People could not boast of either strong magic or god-like technologies, or even special combat talents. That is, in each individual discipline, they were far from the last, but with a comprehensive assessment it turned out that the rating of human civilization falls in the top ten among nearly a thousand races in the galaxy. And only thanks to the incredible efforts of the Council of Sages, we have somehow managed to keep afloat. Looking at the shiny Papadopoulos hare, I had an alternative opinion about the reasons for this situation, but I did not express it.

At the moment, twenty-three planets were under the control of humans. At the same time, seven of them were in the zone of interests of other civilizations, and therefore were constantly attacked and attempts to take them under siege. According to analysts, the complete destruction of humanity as a species should have happened in 10-15 years. And it was even less time to turn the tide.

Then Nikos Papadopoulos took the floor, saying that over the next three years we must find a way to save our race. We four were the best minds of humanity. Each of us was subordinated to a whole institution with thousands of scientists, engineers, magicians and other specialists. And after three years, we had to submit our projects - fully completed studies, allowing mankind to jump out of the mud into the princes and pile on the entire galaxy.

After the end of the event, I was sent along with the attendants to a spacecraft, which was supposed to take us to a research space station, lost in the vast galaxy. Only the maintenance of complete secrecy could allow us to complete the research and not be destroyed by enemy forces.

On the ship I met my surroundings. It turned out to be leading scientists, with whom I had to work for the next three years. Having discussed with them global issues and the current political situation, I retired in my cabin and thought about how I could save humanity.

Speaking directly, I didn't care about local humanity. How are they better than the same kitsune? Personally, I more like girls with fox ears. Well, what to do? Here I am such a fetishist. So the salvation of an endangered race interested me last. But I was interested in local technology and magic. In the world of spiders, I strongly lacked a normal computer on which to calculate the parameters of a spell.

Thus it turned out that I need to focus on my own elevation, simultaneously solving a local problem. The decision was to be made by the Council of Wise Men, which added to the game an additional uncertain factor. However, I had one interesting idea.

I got out of bed and went to the communications center, where I requested a secure communication channel with Nikos Papadopoulos. That, according to my companions, was one of the most important cones in the Council.

“Sammael Tamuz? What made you contact me?” Judging by the disgruntled look of the interlocutor, I pulled him out of bed. And there he did not sleep at all.

“Mr. Nikos, I have an important question regarding the task that you set for me. When you talked about the salvation of humanity, did you talk about saving us as a species, or about saving us as individual living beings? In other words, what is more important for you, the immortality of a race or the immortality of its most gifted representatives?” The bureaucrat frowned and tried to read my thoughts. Alas, he was not a magician, and therefore this trick failed. But his glances eloquently showed that he understood my hint.

“Do you think which of these options will suit the Council more?”

“I think that the council, as well as you, is concerned with the preservation of the best representatives of society.” He finally delivered his expert assessment. On the face of Papadopoulos showed sincere interest.

“Do you already have any ideas on this?”

Looks like a fish swallowed the bait. Now I had to put the right thought in his head, which in three years would penetrate the consciousness of every member of the Council of Wise Men.

“Yes. I believe that the achievement of personal immortality for one will solve the problem of the immortality of society. As for concrete decisions, I think it is worth discussing them when I already have something to demonstrate to you.”

“Many tried to achieve immortality.”

“Of course. But I think you understand perfectly well that I need success in this event no less than you. Unfortunately, I have no hope for other favorites. It remains to hope for the prudence of the Council and its best representatives, who will be able to dispose of the fruits of our labors.”

Nicholas nodded in agreement, and then turned and looked at something behind the scenes. Judging by the sharply bored look, what he saw interested him more than a conversation with me.

“Do you still have questions?” He turned to me.

“I do not dare to distract you. I'll let you know when I have good news.”

At this point I broke the connection and began to think about our conversation. I think my Aesopian language was clear enough for the snickering bureaucrat to realize that I promise him personal control over the future way of attaining immortality. Therefore, there are real chances to influence the outcome of the vote in my favor. Still, the desire for personal gain in such people always overshadows all the arguments of reason and conscience. Well, here I did everything I could, and now it remains only to solve the problem already facing me.

Arguing about immortality, one should separate the immortality of the body and the immortality of the spirit. The body, by definition, is mortal, and the question of its destruction is only a matter of applying sufficient effort. With the soul everything is more complicated. It is possible to destroy it, but in any case this destruction will be only partial. And most likely it will not even be possible to scratch it. For the impact on the soul requires energy, much higher than a person can use. Even I, creating my tails, did it indirectly, using Bakhion, which had been accumulated in the domain for thousands of years. And it only sufficed me alone.

So the immortality of the soul can be taken as an axiom. And then it turns out that to achieve immortality you need three things. First, organize the continuity of memory. Secondly, to ensure the rebirth of souls in new bodies. And thirdly, to make these bodies much more resistant to external influences than human ones.

In other words, I was going to save people, not humanity. After my changes, the new creatures could be called anything but not human. But at the same time, I was going to give them the very immortality that people of all worlds so dreamed of. I already had almost all the necessary information to develop a suitable solution. It was necessary only to streamline it, develop optimal spells, and then check their work in practice.

The first problem for gaining immortality is the destruction of the physical body. One has only to knock out a man's brains, as his body turns into a useless piece of meat. And much less damage could lead to the same result for only a couple of tens of seconds. The body was the mechanism that provides the binding of the soul to the material plane of being. Therefore, it was necessary to make this body as strong as possible. The solution was simple and repeatedly used by me in the past - it was necessary to seal the soul into a magic crystal.

When I was a spider, I studied two types of crystals: those in which the spiders kept their knowledge and energy, and those in which the demons kept enslaved souls. By combining these technologies, I could create a perfectly protected body that would hold the soul and give it the most basic spiritual shells. The size of such a crystal could be small. In the end, the same fairies have a soul, but at the same time no more than ten centimeters tall. And the smaller the receptacle of the soul, the easier it is to preserve its integrity with the help of magic. Where to get magic when it comes to ordinary people? So the demons have solved this problem long ago. Almost any person is able to become a magician, if you instill it in a suitable body with the necessary energy shells.

Of course, to exist in the form of intelligent crystals is not very convenient. And therefore, in the crystal you need to put a spell that allows you to create a body from any material at hand. Mud golems are a great example of how you can create a humanoid from the material tucked under your arm. Of course, for a full-fledged existence, the body should be quite complicated, but this is just as easy to achieve by developing an appropriate set of artifact spells. We do not need to create a body that is comparable in complexity to a human one. It will be enough to organize the desired appearance and emulate the work of human senses - touch, sight, smell, and so on.

You can even program such reactions as sexual satisfaction and enjoyment of exercise. On the other hand, there is no point in feeling pain and discomfort. And because the new form of life and will not suffer from the perishability of the material shell. In the end, this is just a material projection, so that restoring it after receiving damage will require minimal effort. Instead of overgrowing wounds, propagating the slow cells of the human body, it is possible to slightly reconfigure the existing building material that does not have any complex internal structure. After all, the shape of the body will be set only by magic.

By the time our ship reached the research station, the plan was already in the rough. All that was left for me was to make a list of the main tasks, to contract the subordinates for the execution of subtasks of my plan and to monitor its implementation. Of course, I first had to teach people the basics of spider magic. But for them it was all the same only theoretical information, because the local magicians used some kind of unknown to me earlier magic, to delve into the problems of which, I had no desire. After all, humans had hundreds of years to figure out how to use their magic in the best possible way. And if they didn't think of anything, then I don't want to do it either. Moreover, I had only three years, which had to be spent with maximum efficiency. Remembering my previous research on magic, three years might not be enough. After all, I needed not only to understand what had to be done, but also to figure out how to specifically solve hundreds and thousands of tasks.

After two and a half years, I stood in my personal laboratory and held in my hands the result of my labors - the body of a perfect form of life. As I planned, it was a small transparent red crystal, inside which you could enclose a soul. Even in the form of crystal alone, this form of life possessed magic abilities. And as soon as she got access to the most common chemical elements (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, silicon, aluminum), as with their help it could create any body for herself. I called this form of life Vritras, which was derived from the name Vritra, meaning "Primordial demon without form."

The last two dozen experiments on suicide people were completely successful, so I thought to go to the stage of test operation. When I was planning to develop vritras, I immediately laid down three levels of implementation.

The first is the civil equipment, which was supposed to give to everyone. It allowed to live in a new body, use magic and ... multiply. The latter possibility was provided by an automatic system for creating a crystal into which the soul in the other world moved in. In fact, it was an analogue of the reincarnation of souls, but only with the preservation of memory. Moreover, if desired, it was possible to attract a particular soul, if the parent had her energy cast. Another function of the crystal was the ability to die at will. This was supposed to solve the problem of capturing the prisoners and fatigue from eternal life, if such comes.

The second configuration allowed the use of a more advanced "filler" to create the body. It could include strong metals, which made such vritras more resistant to physical damage, stronger, faster, and so on. Plus, the user got access to a set of combat spells sewn into the crystal structure. This allowed the use of magic in battle with greater speed.

And finally, the third modification was intended for me alone. In it, I put all the functions that I could think of, but which I decided not to give to the local ones. This crystal existed so far only in my head and in the form of calculations stored on an encrypted storage.

Once again I looked at the crystal covered with magical symbols and threw it into a small box with the others. They were the souls of the second type party, which I had just finished synthesizing. Having closed the box, I put it in my pocket and headed for the exit from the laboratory, at the same time taking the phone out of another pocket.

“Kirill. Gather a team and come to the laboratory number forty-one.” I gave a short order.

Since that time, I have gathered some loyal security personnel to me personally. It turned out to be the right approach, because only thanks to them I was able to live to the present moment. Three murdering attempts in two and a half years - such was the statistics of being on the most protected and secret space base of mankind. The first time was an embedded vampire agent who acted according to the program laid down in him. The second time it was an agent of another game figure who tried to sabotage my project. And the third case was the most dangerous. I was attacked by a simple scientist who, because of envy, decided to get rid of the unworthy me and take all the glory of my inventions to himself.

So now I always moved around the station only accompanied by two bodyguards. Coming out of the laboratory into the corridor, I found two accompanying people there. A light mental scan showed that they are not subordinate and are in clear consciousness. A couple of weeks ago there was already an attempt to zombie one of the guards. It ended with nothing because of the protection I had established, but the organizer of this event could not be found either.

When I reached the venue, I found the rest of my support group there. Only eight people passed the hard casting. Indeed, in the first place, I assessed people by loyalty to myself, supported by the promise of immortality, strength, power, and other things.

“Good afternoon, Kiril, how is the situation?” The leader of the group was a native of the Slavs, Kirill Dubrovich, with the call sign Oak.”

“Kind. So far, so good. Observation goals are in the workplace.” After the last incident, we decided to compile a list of potential spy-saboteurs-pests, whose activities are now monitored in real time.

“So, we have already talked a lot about this, but today this moment has arrived. I am ready to make you immortal magicians, who in the future will become the leaders of a new society.”

“All is ready?” Frank Joseph Stalin, despite his last name, was from the French clans, one of the first to break into the galaxy and begin its colonization.

“Yes. You yourself watched the subjects and talked to them. Death prisoners are satisfied.”

“They would not suit them.” Frank exclaimed. “They live like in a bar, they have sex for two hours a day …”

“Do not envy.” Mark Three interrupted him - the youngest member of our team with the strangest surname.

“Finish the farce.”  Oak shout, looking at his comrades with a heavy look. “Go on.” He has   ability to instantly restore order, and so why I made him head of the station's security services."

"In general, I created the warrior caste crystals. Anyone can go to appeal right now. Or wait, watching the lives of more courageous comrades.”

“Will there be crystals for the Brahmin caste?” Narayan Bhagavan Singh, from a cultural point of view, was a typical Hindu, but outwardly he looked like a true aryan - the ideal of the Third Reich. Actually, he was the ariy. In this reality, the wild dark-skinned tribes of mlechs and yavans did not succeed in conquering India and replacing their true masters with themselves. Narayan considered himself a direct descendant of Balarama and a Brahmin - a representative of the highest caste in the Aryan culture.

“Will be.” According to I nodded. “One. Only for me.”

Arius sighed and volunteered.

“What nedd to do?”

“As you have not seen?” I was surprised. “Sit in the gut.”

This disinterested word guards frightened suicide bombers sent to us to conduct experiments. The name for the unit stuck, although in official papers it was called "The system of extraction of information and energy shells of consciousness." However, there was nothing terrible in the device. It looked like a dentist's chair with a slightly strange headrest. Well, the limb fixation system - where do without it in our business?

“Undress is not necessary?”

“No. You take things later.”

Narayan sat in the chair and tried to relax. I went to the next device and inserted one of the crystals out of the box. Then I had to spend a couple of minutes to activate the equipment. In fact, the main equipment here was a crystal. And all this cumbersome machinery only provided a channel for moving the soul from one body to another.

The lights on the control panel lit up green, indicating the normal operation of the equipment, and the first victim went limp, unconscious. While the process of artificial reincarnation was going on, I went to the stacks of boxes in the corner and telekinetic moved one of them to a special stand. After that, I removed the lid and checked the contents. In these "coffins" was a set of chemical elements necessary to create the body. It looked like a mixture of water and sand.

The device sighed, and I moved to the patient, for one spell controlling the state of his past body - one hundred percent dead. Even cellular activity is completely stopped. Telekinesis, in order not to touch my hands, I took out the crystal from the holder, carefully scanned it, then threw it into the coffin. All those present immediately huddled around to personally witness the process of creating a new body.

The crystal blurted out in a thin layer of water and sank down onto the sand. After a second, the grains of material began to adhere to the base, simultaneously fusing into a single amorphous mass. The process went on increasing, and the lump began to grow, stretching the tentacles around the box. After a couple of minutes, all the matter was absorbed, and the process of formation of the human body began.

Theoretically, a vritras could take any shape. But for this, he needed to consciously control this process, or to entrust the maintenance of the form and appearance to a special program. Crystal initially contained a few standard programs that provide the revived human form. In the future, it was possible to customize the parameters of the program or even write your own. I decided to further accelerate the process by transferring to the crystal a model of the appearance of the donor. In total, it was necessary to select the desired file on the phone and transfer it to the crystal via the "magic" communication channel.

The body took on a humanoid shape without a face and muscle relief, and then literally in a second took the form of Narayan. It took a couple more seconds to form small details like skin or hair pores. And so, a naked man opened his eyes and looked around.

“Well, how? Happened?”

“Get dressed.” Kiril ordered.

“What to dress?” The commander just rolled his eyes for a such question. “Oh, right.”

Vritras closed his eyes for a second, after which an image of a guard's suit appeared on the surface of his body. It was amazingly reminiscent of the transformation of the liquid terminator. Narayan looked at himself, got out of the box and began to warm up, settling in with a new body.

“Damn, I feel like after a shock dose of stimulants. Nothing hurts anywhere, does not pull, and such comfort is felt …” At this point, his eyes fell on the former body. “Is that what I look like?”

“Yes. Already want to do plastic surgery?”  Frank answered.

“It is worth pondering.”

“Yes, you are enough handsome.”  Kiril reassured him. “Who is next?”

On this day, six out of eight people underwent transformation. Mark Three and Mateo Hidalgo decided to wait. They can be understood. Moreover, right before their eyes, six bodies went to an organic waste utilizer. Even I, with all my preparation, found this sight disturbing. However, human emotions did not affect my decisions. I planned to turn myself into vritras in about a month, when all the preparations would be ready. Fix minor bugs can be already being immortal.

There was still six months ahead of the agreed time, but the station population was already beginning to fever. Someone discussed what the Council would decide. Someone tried to figure out how to become immortal before our research was banned, and the entire station staff was shot. Confusion and vacillation reigned in people's heads, which could not but affect the results of their work. Although the main project was already completed, there were still many accompanying ones that were supposed to increase the comfort of the existence of a new form of life.

For example, we were still working on the concept of enjoying sex. If you do not build in any restrictions, then vritras will fuck without stopping 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which will quickly lead to a complete degradation of consciousness. But it was also impossible to completely deprive people of sex. Who would agree to become immortal if the only joy in such an existence is to observe the suffering of others? After all, as they say, did filth - in the heart of joy.

In general, the work was still a sea, and the people panicked. It was necessary to introduce tough discipline, limit communication, and most importantly - to promise the immortality that they so longed for. It is quite natural that my closest supporters and opponents were the first in the queue. Almost the entire top of the institute twisted intrigues with each other. Someone wanted to gain more glory, someone wanted to urgently become immortal, until the withering body did not give up, someone sincerely wanted to save humanity, and some equally sincerely wanted to destroy it. However, there were also those who did not care, and they were only concerned with conducting research and conducting experiments.

The apotheosis of the growing insanity was the appeal of several scientists in vritras secret from me. This conspiracy decided to overthrow me before I received immortality. I did not explain to them that I was under the influence of protective spells all day and night, but I used a control key embedded in the "prisoner" models, turning the imbeciles back into a set of inorganic substances and lifeless glass.

In general, shit beat from all pipes like a giant geyser. It was very difficult to work in such an atmosphere, so in the end, I started the process of converting people into civilian models of vritras, and I locked myself in the laboratory and went deep into developing the final version of Vritras. Just so, with a capital letter.

I was not so naive as to believe that I could save my body Vritras after the game ended. Already twice I lost my body through the fault of the Creature, and something is unlikely to change in the future. All I have is a soul. And it was there that I was going to hide a special information module that stores the image of the crystal with its entire structure on the physical and magical plans. Also, as memories of past lives are stored in the inner shells of the soul, I was going to preserve knowledge about how to achieve immortality. And so that all sorts of complications do not climb there with their crooked paws, this memory area was located at non-standard mental frequencies. I chose the characteristics of my personal "flash drive", scanning the multidimensional world around me and choosing the most uninhabited range where nothing ever happened.

Another trump ace was a modification of the body, allowing it to generate energy through cold fusion. I did not forget my favorite way to solve all problems - a thermonuclear bomb. So I decided what good to disappear? While I'm not blasting anything, let lithium deuteride be used as a source of energy for body work and magic. Although I had two tails, an extra stash wouldn't hurt. Ordinary vritras were limited in their output power by the parameters of their source of magic. But my power should have been limitless.

And finally, I brought my immortality almost to the Absolute, having developed a strengthening spell that made the main crystal of the soul almost indestructible. This was achieved by the utmost specialization of the spell. In fact, it could be imposed only on a crystal of a special composition, a fixed internal structure and shape. But then, according to calculations, the crystal had to maintain its integrity, even lying on the surface of a neutron star.

The work on the last details was delayed, so I completed it just three months before the date of the presentation of the results. And just an hour after that, I was contacted by a member of the Council of Sages, who reported on the imminent arrival of a special commission, which was supposed to verify the results of our work. Time was running out, so I had to urgently complete all preparations.

To begin, I checked the statistics of problems with artificial bodies and the stones of the souls themselves. Surprisingly, there were very few. Moreover, the scientists themselves have developed a solution for these problems, after which they promptly replaced the crystals with new ones, moving the souls from defective versions to them. I took into account all the improvements and made changes to my project.

The next step I called all my guards and instructed them to strengthen the security of the laboratory during the following days. I myself locked myself inside, although after such a time of sitting alone, it did not surprise anyone. Having inserted the memory card into a computer isolated from the network station, I started the process of final calculation of the characteristics of the crystal. After a couple of hours, the process ended, and an action program was introduced into the synthesizer. It was my masterpiece, which allows me to synthesize crystals with an accuracy of an atom using an alloy of magic and technology, at the same time imposing a multi-dimensional artifact spell on them.

Finally, after six hours, the manufacture and testing of the crystal was completed. I began to beat jitters. With shaking hands, I placed the crystal in the holder, sat in the "Ripper" chair, and activated the transfer process. After a few seconds, I lost consciousness, and when I woke up, I was already trapped in the crystal. Very unusual condition, I tell you.

The next stage was the most important. Having formed the spell of a telekinesis, I picked up the crystal and transferred myself to another device, in which the program of influence had already been set. Then I disconnected again, in order not to interfere with my actions with the subtle procedure of recording information into my soul.

I woke up feeling like minced meat, which someone decided to mince in the opposite direction, hoping to get pieces of meat. It took almost another day to come to life, refraining from any magical or mental activity. Finally, the equipment showed the normalization of my condition, after which I moved the crystal to an open box with materials for the body.

For the formation of the outer shell, I watched with interest. So far this has been the standard program for reproducing a copy of my previous body. Finally, I sighed, opened my eyes and listened to my pulse. The imitation of the ordinary human body was complete. Even an autopsy and x-ray would reveal the presence of internal organs. And only a chemical analysis of blood or flesh would give a very strange result. My body consisted of a third of titanium, and two thirds of carbon-silicon organic.

I climbed out of the coffin and looked at my previous body. I must say, Sammael Tamuz was not distinguished by special external data. When this whole game is over, you will need to give yourself the look of a true macho. Then I dressed in ordinary clothes and disposed of my corpse. "Own corpse" is a very unusual concept for a person.

Coming out of the lab, I was faced with already nervous guards. Still, I stayed there pretty.

“Transport with inspectors arrives in four hours.” Immediately introduced me to the case of Oak.

“What about our 'brains'?” I asked, hinting at scientists. Engineers as more mundane and magicians as more trained in self-control rebelled far less.

“Boiling. But not yet exploded. All calmed down in anticipation of the arrival of the commission.”

“Anything became known for its composition?”

“Not.”

“Well, then let's get ready to meet dear guests.”

The arrival of the ship at the station was still a trouble. In order to prevent our destruction, the station teleported to a random place about once a day. And to meet the ship, a special beacon-scanner was sent to the designated place. It was convinced that the meeting point was safe, waited for the ship to arrive, and after that gave a signal to us. The station moved to the appointed place, took the ship on board and once again jumped in a random direction.

The arrival of cargo ships occurred about once a month, and this meeting was unplanned. Finally, we received a signal, made a short jump, and a diplomatic courier flew into the hangar - a special class of ships with serious protection and the ability to jump into the jump at any moment. A few minutes later, the ramp opened, and three people in civilian clothes descended on it, followed by four men in combat suits. Papadopoulos was not among the arrivals, which upset me a little.

“Greetings, gentlemen. My name is Sammael Tamuz, I am the head of this station.”

“John Doe, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Council of Sages.” Introduced one of them. The rest remained silent, and generally pretended to be furniture. “Where can we talk?”

“Follow me, please. At your service is a room for negotiations, the highest degree of protection.”

Having made our way along the corridors of the station, we entered one of the most protected, and at the same time useless premises. Its only advantage was a luxurious setting. There was not even a computer, because it could be used for espionage. Having settled down according to the protocol, I suggested to proceed immediately to the matter.

“As I said, I am the plenipotentiary representative of the Council of Wise Men and one of its members. I know that before the expiration of another three months, but the situation is very serious. We can't wait any longer. Literally four days ago, we lost five planets at once. The entire population on them has been destroyed or is destroying now. Under our control, there are only ten worlds and twelve habitable planets. My task is to evaluate the results of your research and, if they are promising, to organize a demonstration of these results to the Council.”

It seems my first obstacle in the final will be to make the right impression on this person. Once he decides that my development is "hopeless," as I automatically lose the game. And I don't want to find out what the Being will come up with in this connection. It remains to hope for the impartiality of the individual.

“In principle, our project has already been completed. We have planned minor improvements, but they can be carried out in parallel with the implementation.”

“What is the essence of your project?” It seems that secrecy was maintained at a sufficient level, so that even members of the Council of Sages did not know what I was doing here.

“In short, we are talking about giving people immortality and making them magicians.”

“Is it all?”  Said John Doe with disappointed voice. “I was hoping that it would be some kind of weapon.”

“It is better than any weapon. If you have not heard, then we are talking about immortality. That is, you can send soldiers into battle who cannot be destroyed.”

“The result of the battle is not decided by the soldiers, but by the space ships.”

“No. Spaceships do not solve anything. Because without the planets supporting them, without the supply of food and ammunition, these are just flying coffins. It is enough for us to send one soldier to the enemy planet, and in a month there will be millions of our soldiers - immortal, able to fight on equal terms with magicians and robots who do not need rear support and infrastructure. Not a single race of this galaxy can cope with our army. Just as it can not conquer any of our planets. Yes, they will be able to snap back for a while, but in a hundred years they will not be left a trace.”

John listened to my ardent speech with interest.

“That is, the soldiers will be able to multiply?”

“Not only soldiers can multiply. This is a new form of life. It is an almost immortal body that contains a soul that preserves the memory of past lives. You can draw from the afterlife the soul of an experienced warrior, and immediately get a soldier who can perform all kinds of assigned tasks. As I said, the body will be almost invulnerable. But if it is destroyed, the comrades of the fallen will be able to invoke his soul and give a new body in just a few minutes.”

"Hm ... can you demonstrate what it looks like?"

“Of course. Let's go to the test site. We make experiments on prisoners sentenced to death. We have several working samples that can demonstrate all the advantages of a new form of life.

“Come on.” We left the room and again began to stray along the countless corridors of the station. “Did you say that this is a new form of life?” A messenger asked me on the way. “That is, nominally, this is not the salvation of mankind.”

“Nominally, this salvation is not of a biological species, but of each of its representatives separately. People will replace the body, but remain themselves. Get a better life. And all nonhumans will be destroyed by us and turned to dust.”

John Doe agreed to my words and went with a contented look. The mental scan of consciousness showed that he was very indifferent to all inhuman life forms inhabiting the galaxy. In the sense that he hates them to the bone. But at the same time, the idea that people can change, remaining the beings of a "higher order", did not cause rejection.

We stopped in a room fenced off from the large hall by a glass wall. According to my instructions, there was already one of the official experimental and three troop guards hung with various weapons. I was not afraid of a riot on the part of the prisoner, because for him it was already a past stage. He was personally convinced that he was hanging tightly on our hook, and any rebellion would only worsen his extremely comfortable position.

“You see in front of you a sample of a new life form. We call it vritras. Now we will demonstrate how the sample transfers attack from personal small pistols.”

I gave order, and one of the guards raised a kinetic machine gun, firing conventional bullets. Despite all the progress, a piece of metal flying to head still remained quite an effective weapon. Unless bullets were accelerated now not by powder gases, but by gravity compensators. There was a long line, and the body of the prisoner literally riddled. Scarlet blood spilled out of the wounds, and the disfigured body loudly splashed to the floor. Brains were visible in the bursting head, and under the body a whole pool of blood quickly ran over.

“So what?” John asked puzzled.

I frowned, went to the communication apparatus, pressed the button and said:

“Martin, if you immediately do not stop fooling around, then I will deprive you of having sex. For end of life.”

Hearing the last word, the figure jerked and immediately rose to his feet. Wounds healed, and blood soaked into the body. Even the "prisoner uniform" restored its factory look.

“Ok, ok. No more joke.”  muttered experimental.

“Another turn.”  I ordered.

The guard raised the weapon, and discharged the remainder of the clip into the target. At this time, the bullets were barely able to leave marks on the body, which immediately healed. The tester changed his weapon to a blaster and continued the demonstration.

“Prisoners, what to take with them? There is no trust in them.” I explained the situation.

“You said something about sex.”

“Yes. We decided to keep this feature. People need a way to have fun. So we took a few women, transplanted them into new bodies, and then gave the prisoners the opportunity to relax. All on a voluntary basis. The duration of sex is limited to a couple of hours a day. This is a temporary solution, because the question is too complicated. But as you can see, prisoners love their position, and the threat of depriving them of sex is very serious.”

We traced how kinetic and plasma weapons, a flamethrower, and even an anti-tank missile were powerless to cause the target at least some harm. A built shot of their grenade launcher tore the test subject into pieces, but after five seconds he gathered back and no matter how happened he stood against the wall, whistling with a disgusting grin.

“This is ... impressive.” Guest admitted.

“This is a model for prisoners. Military can be equipped with built-in magical artifacts that will turn a person into a heavy assault infantry unit.”

“But you need to be a magician?”

“Anyone who has received this body will become a magician. Maybe not outstanding, but quite sufficient to be a serious combat unit on the battlefield.”

“And how will this affect a peaceful life?”

“Well, for each other such shots will come off except for a slap in the face. This weapon does not pose any danger to vritras. We can come up with a model of social regulation after the threat of early destruction ceases to hang over us.”

"Can you show all this to the Council?"

“Of course. But for the demonstration, I would prefer to use a loyal soldier. Prisoners for this are not suitable. They are under tight control here , and I would not want to trust them more than necessary.”

“Yes, I understand you. There are four paratroopers on my command. You can use them.”

I looked at the four metal-clad figures.

“Only with their voluntary consent.”

“We agree.” Answered one of the four. “If we could demonstrate this on the battlefield, then the enemies would have already pray for a truce.”

“Then we need to prepare. In an hour I will be able to demonstrate to you how a simple person can become immortal.”

On this we parted. The adviser with the attendants went to rest, but I had to organize a colorful show. Of course, I was not going to give these people a military version. Civil version is enough. Unless it was worth investing the ability to apply a dozen spells. Let's call it the police version.

Further it is possible not to describe. I turned four people into vritras and made another demonstration of their new abilities. After that, it was decided to take me on an express ship to the planet where the Council of Sages was now meeting. I have already received everything I could from this station, so I agreed. Unless insisted on his escort bodyguards. Finally, I plunged into the ship, taking with me a "marching set" of equipment and a hundred crystals, after which we departed.

The planet Nibiru met us with a bristling fleet, which for several hours figured out who we were and from where we came. Each arriving ship was scanned by all available means and kept in quarantine. As the adviser explained to me, this was a defense against attacks by any nonhumans disguised as civilians. Most of the problems brought necromancers, making people undead, able to turn the victims into their own kind through a bite.

We, by the way, scanners identified as people. Such a trifle as emulation of the structure of the human body and aura was a basic function. The "death" demonstrated earlier by the prisoner was the result of the work of this emulation. Having landed on the planet, we once again went through a scan, personal identification, and so on, after which I was lodged with bodyguards in one of the underground bunkers. It seems that things are really not going well here.

John Doe advised me not to tell anyone about my invention before the official presentation. Spies of other races snooping around, and any counterintelligence could guarantee the secrecy regime.

Three days we spent in the bunker, most of the time watching the news about the latest events. Human civilization really looked like it was on its last legs. The industry could not cope with the load, the crews of the space fighters were recruited by recruit operators of the space miner ships, and green recruits went to the fight, of which three out of ten experienced the first battle.

Finally, we were invited to an event where we had to demonstrate the results of our work. I expected to see a large hall filled with hundreds of people, but we were met by a couple of dozens of people, among whom I noticed Papadopoulos and Rigertstein. Ten minutes later, the Dow joined them, after which the main program of performances began.

As it turned out, three other players were also present in the audience, which I literally sensed as soon as they approached a distance of several kilometers. Perhaps this was how the ability bestowed by the Judge worked. I was determined to be the last to perform, so I comfortably settled in the chair and prepared to laugh loudly at the right moments.

The first project was the concept of building spacecraft, which reproduced the full life cycle of humanity. That is, it was a closed biosphere, capable of supporting the lives of about a million people. It was supposed to build hundreds of such ships and leave the inhospitable galaxy to hell. About the fate of those who do not have enough space on the ships, the author of the idea chose not to spread. He only noted that the best of the best will get there - the color of humanity, worthy of bringing the fruit of eternal stagnation in a cosmic vacuum.

This project has not caused enthusiasm. Similar ships were built before that. Respect caused only the scale of these giants. But at the same time, the larger the ship, the more difficult it is to protect it. So even the chances that it will be possible to build at least one ship in the current conditions were small.

The second project was implemented by an amateur terminator. That is how he called his creation - fully autonomous robots capable of carrying ‘love of humanity’ to all corners of the galaxy. I just laughed at such brazen plagiarism, prompting the angry glances of the robotics lover.

During the question-answer session, I even asked: what is the probability of an uprising of machines, and do opponents have similar systems? The first question was followed by an unpersuasive denial of such a possibility, and the second was answered by an expert of the Arms Council, who spoke about an entire race of intelligent robots that were even lower than humans in the world rankings. After all, they do not possess magic. Our creations of the gloomy Tectonian genius themselves did not possess magic, but at least they had protection from the simplest spells.

Most of all, the author of this project was pushing for the possibility of building completely autonomous factories capable of filling all enemies with robots. But my question about the uprising sowed the necessary doubts in the hearts of the listeners, so I did not expect much competition here.

The third project was extremely unexpected. In some ways, he repeated the first. The main concept was also an escape, but it was implemented on a much larger scale. The author offered to protect himself or herself in a piece of outer space with an indestructible power shield and live in this stub of the Universe, without worrying about what was going on outside.

Oddly enough, this option advisers liked quite a lot. First of all, by allowing the status quo to be maintained. The whole structure of government and society remained unchanged. Only removed the external threat factor. I had to break these pink dreams with my tricky questions.

“You said that the shields will actually cut out part of the space, creating a new metauniverse.” I asked the question to the third figure. His name was Cyrus Xenakis, and judging by the fatty face, he was a relative of Papadopoulos.

“Yes it is. This ensures that no one and nothing can pass through this barrier.” Explained actively sweating candidate for winners.

“But it is known that the space is constantly expanding. How the absence of back pressure of the surrounding space will affect the life of this universe.”

"Well ..." Xenakis's eyes darted around, seeking support from the public. “It depends on the volume of the isolated space. According to the Chandravishnu formulas …”

“How much time we can live, being inside?” I interrupted him.

“Pretty long. More than one hundred thousand years.”

“For some reason, it seems to me that even less than a hundred years.” I smiled victoriously. “I think it is worth checking out with independent experts. Yes, and such a fate - it is actually a way to guaranteed self-destruction. I would not call this approach salvation.”

The hum of discussion filled the room, and Kira Xenakis began to sweat even more, although the temperature in the room did not exceed twenty degrees. Pretty cool, as for me.

“The Council will commission the study of the materials of the third project to independent group of experts.” Finally, one of the Council members spoke. “Let's move on to the fourth project. Its author was most successful in tricky questions, and I would like to see what he prepared to offer.”

"Dear wise men," I addressed the audience with a speech that had been prepared, "Humanity faced a serious problem when trying to compete with other races for a place in the galaxy. As you all know very well, life in the universe is subject to a simple rule - the strongest survive. Or in other words, the fittest. Life is based on evolution, and living beings are forced to adapt to changing circumstances. We also need to change - to evolve into a higher form of life that will establish control over the entire galaxy. Millions of years, people have adapted to changes in the world around them. But now, in the age of space technology, changes are occurring too quickly. Therefore, we must make an evolutionary leap based not on our limited body, but on the pride of our species — mind."

I examined the audience and made sure that the poisoned honey of my words regularly flows into the ears of those present, using noodles as a means of delivery.

“The human was always been weaker than the surrounding species. But we always smarter than them. And now, in the moment of our weakness, we must use our mind to become stronger, faster, more powerful. For this purpose I created the project of complementation of humanity, which will allow us to rightfully call ourselves the highest form of life.”

I noticed that the third figure began to whisper under her breath, covering her head with her hands:

“Only not Evangelion, only not Evangelion! I can't bear it.”

Heh, here it stomps, however.

“I will not speak much, but it is better to get right to the point. I want to show you the next step in human evolution - Vritras.” With these words, one of the guards who stood at the door, came on the scene. This time he was not in a spacesuit, but in a simple military uniform. More precisely, his body depicted clothes. “This man has gone through a transformation process and has achieved true immortality. He can not be killed by destroying the body, he possess magic. Even in the unlikely event of death, he can be reborn, retaining his memory and consciousness. He does not grow old, does not need food, does not feel pain, but may experience pleasure. Soldiers like him will be able to conquer any world, because it is impossible to resist an army whose soldiers are immortal, do not need rest, food supplies and ammunition.”

The noise in the hall was growing, so I had to stop not to scream at the top of my voice. The time for an angry sermon has not yet come.

“Who let him in here?”

“This is a conspiracy of necromancers?”

“So you say he is immortal?” The loudest voice rang out.

“Yes…”

“Kill him” The order followed before I could give a detailed answer.

Several guards exchanged glances, and then one of the three vritras that stood right there, raised the machine gun and burst into tears of his companion to shreds. But literally in a couple of seconds, the bloodied and charred parts of the body united to form a whole person. I was sure that the charges of a heavy blaster could not damage the crystal, but the "test subject" insured by placing it in the heel of his left foot.

The noise turned into a real hubbub. People jumped up from their seats and began to speak loudly, waving their arms. A couple of people decided to come closer to the vritras to see him closely. Judging by the situation, nobody will listen to me for the next two hours. Instead, everyone will pour from empty to empty, trying to prove to others the exceptional importance of their own opinions. So I sat down in a chair and began to read a book on the basics of local magic. Since free time has been formed, it is worth spending it profitably.

Two hours were not enough for those gathered, so the meeting was postponed the next day. But I didn't even tell how and at what cost this immortality is achieved. However, apparently, the "wise men" were not interested in such trifles.

The next day, the Council met in an expanded format. Now they brought me to a huge hall, where two hundred people sat comfortably. The tribune on which I settled was fenced off with a protective force field. Apparently, local bigwigs were afraid for their lives. Of the game figures, it was only me and the inventor of the terminators.

Next to the main tribune, in front of a protective field, a small portable tribune was installed, where three wise men sat, including Nikos Papadopoulos. I exchanged promising views with him, but we didn't get any closer communication.

“So, gentlemen, let's get started.” The speaker declared twenty minutes after the official start of the meeting. The noise and din gradually subsided, and he continued. “By decision of the expert council, the first and third projects were rejected. We don't have enough resources to implement the first project, and in the third there was a serious flaw. Although an isolated region of space can indeed exist for more than one hundred thousand years, life in it will be possible only for the first couple of days. Kira Xenakis was sentenced by a military court to be sent to the combat zone as a kamikaze pil.., oh, sorry, as a fighter pilot.”

Giggles in the hall showed that the public appreciated the joke.

“Now we have to discuss the two remaining projects and choose among them worthy of implementation. I give the floor to Ivor Pendragon, who volunteered to submit to the Council of Sages a second draft.

The man, who was sitting on the right hand of the speaker, turned on his microphone and began to speak, referring to the text on the tablet.

“First of all, I would like to note that of the two existing projects, only this one does not imply that everyone present will turn into one of the types of magical evil.” At the same time Ivor angrily gazed in my direction. “Regarding the essence of the second project. It involves the construction of fully automated plants under the control of the Council. The plants will be located in the orbits of stars near the asteroid belt. Automatic miners will collect ore and deliver it to factories that will produce combat robots of various modifications.”

“After the formation of the army of robots, they will be delivered to one of the main worlds, where they will be blessed by the power of God Odin, making them invulnerable to magic. Further, the countless army of holy robots will speak out against the inhumans and sweep them away with a single impulse in the name of the gods and …”

“HHM!” The speaker interrupted the sermon, whose name nobody bothered to tell me.  “Let's look at the description of those events that we are able to predict.”

"Uh-uh ... good." The speaker agreed. “According to calculations, the construction of one plant will take three months, after which it will be able to produce more than a billion robots per year. Provided that the current settlement zone is maintained and that the new plants are continuously produced on the basis of the existing capacities, we will be able to crush the main opponents with the mass in four years. By this time we will have one hundred Holy Robots of Odin for each soldier of the enemy!” Lecturer in a fit of feelings even hit the table with his fist. "And we will not have to betray the ancestors' covenants, turning ourselves into one kind of undead."

At the same time, Ivor Pendragon stared into the hall with such hatred that it became clear that his faction was in the minority. Otherwise, his view would not be hatred, but arrogant contempt.

Despite the recognized authority of the Council of Sages, all of its activities proceeded behind closed doors. People learned about the decision of the Council, not even after its adoption, but after the decision was implemented. The personalities of the "wise men" were also covered with a veil of secrecy, and only a few people, like Nikos Papadopoulos, were known to the masses. Presumably, in this world the Illuminats won, and did not even find it necessary to hide from someone. Rather, this secrecy was a consequence of the usual disregard for the opinion of "simple cow". There has never been a democratic election here, so no one was going to educate the people about their rulers. A lot of honor will be.

The angry speech of the apologist for the holy robots ended, and the word was passed on to my protégé.

"Dear members of the council," Papadopoulos began his speech, "tonight I carefully studied all the documentation on the fourth project, and also read the reports of our analysts.”  When he managed to get the documentation? Surely with me, John Doe brought all the dirt that my envious collected? “Unlike the second project, we will not have to wait for the construction of a factory, and then hope to overwhelm the enemies with glands. We can start cramping enemies today. The human complementation project is fully completed.” Such a plagiarist! Stole my clever word. “And we are talking not only about the formation of the army. The goals of this project are much more global. Do not be afraid to say this, it really is a way to save humanity. Save each of you. Save those who are dear to you.”

Nikos made a dramatic pause and gave everyone a meaningful look.

“We are talking about the fact that each of the people can get immortality. The fact that you can bring back to life even those of your loved ones who have already died.” A surprised rumble ran through the hall. “People can stand on the same level with the gods.” I clearly distinguished how Pendragon's teeth gritted. “Humanity deserves more. We deserve not to hide behind the backs of the soulless piece of iron, but to fight the enemy face to face and tear them to shreds, confirming our evolutionary supremacy.” This time in the hall rose an approving rumble, which did not even think to subside. “Humanity has once again proved that we are the crown of evolution. The fusion of magic and technology, the fusion of secret spiritual knowledge and our philosophical convictions allowed us to make a step forward, leaving behind all nonhumans. And tell me, will you take this step, or will you cowardly step away from your such triumph in fear of violating the hardened precepts of your ancestors?” From the hall came the cheers. “Gentlemen, I think you can make the right decision.”

At this, Papadopoulos ended his speech and smugly looked at his ideological rival. It seems that just this fat beetle scored more points in their favor.

Five minutes later, the speaker asked for silence, and the stirring of the masses in the hall fell silent.

“I understand that many of you are already inclined to choose one of the projects, but before we proceed to the vote, I would like to conduct a test, push the two approaches face to face and determine which of them will be more advantageous. What think project managers about this? Arnold Schwarzkopf, please take speech.”

Finally, I heard the name of my main rival. Yesterday, he somehow managed to tell about everything without even introducing himself.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I think that a simple duel will allow us to put everything in its place. And to be more honest, I propose to put two groups of opponents who will have the same cost of production.” With these words, Arnold looked at me with a grin.

“What can you say to this offer, Sammael Tamuz?”

“I am afraid that if you observe such a ratio, then against a million of my soldiers will have to put half a robot. After all, a vrita can literally create his body from dirt. And they do not need for this expensive factories, transport and qualified personnel. Life is able to sustain itself.”  I returned the scornful smile to the local terminator. “However, I agree to a small handicap on my part. My team consists of eight vritras against eight hundred terminators. I am sure that by the end of the battle the score will be eight hundred to zero.”

Schwarzkopf from such words covered with red spots and so he rushed at me with his fists. But after a couple of seconds, he pulled himself together and even smiled wryly again.

“Wonderful! Nobody pulled you by the tongue. There are enough prototypes in my institute to start this ridiculous contest.”

“Do not worry about it.” Inserted the speaker. “We have already delivered all the research stations to the orbit of the planet. The competition will begin at a military training ground in two hours. Will you be able to provide your members through this time?” He turned to me.

“Of course. My bodyguards will cope with this simple task.”

All those present turned their eyes to my eight minions, who successfully depicted furniture not far from the entrance to the presidium.

At this meeting ended and I was taken to a separate office. There, to my surprise, Papadopoulos was already waiting for me.

“Mr. Nikos, what a pleasant surprise.” I greeted him.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Sammael. I have little time, so I will be brief. Do you still remember our conversation three years ago?”

“Of course. I understand that the current sentiment in the Council is the result of your hard work. I can give you immortality at any time, after which you can repeat this procedure with any of your supporters.”

Papadopoulos's eyes glowed dangerously.

“Can you do it right now?”

“Can. But I would recommend that you first worry about the proper disposal of the old body and the availability of materials to create a new one.”

“Yes, you are right.” Calm intrigued. “Can you give me the equipment that I can use for my appeal on my own?”

“Equipment? Let me think.”

I figured out how to organize such a focus. The main problem was to pull the soul out of the body and install it in the crystal. Without proper control, it was quite possible to "resurrect" not something that would be very sad. Finally, I formed in my mind a structure that, due to the fusion of magic and technology, could have done the job of the "gutter", but would have been quite compact.

“I need a consumable. Some kind of electronic device weighing a couple of kilograms.”

Nikos thought for a second, after which he turned to his guards.

“Bring a microwave from the common room.”

Five minutes later I received the aforementioned item. There was not so much silicon I needed, so I had to also "eat" the computer’s monitor. In order not to irritate surrounding people with the process of literally devouring technology, I simply plunged it into my torso, where it was split into atoms by a system of spells supporting the existence of the body. After about ten minutes, I synthesized the desired device, putting the necessary spells into it.

Finally, I pulled a wide metal cylinder out of my belly, having some similarity to a large plate about ten centimeters thick. A shower crystal glowed dimly in the center of this device.

“Lie on your back, place it on your chest with a crystal to the top and hold your hand on the crystal for a minute. Next to you should be enough building material for the new body. You will get the organics from your body, so in addition you will need silicon and aluminum. The program of synthesis of new crystals and the spell for the conversion of a person are already sewn into the future container of your soul.”

“Thank you.” Papadopoulos stretched his trembling hands to the device and eagerly grabbed it. A predatory expression appeared on the face of a council member. “I think that after the appeal of my supporters, the council is waiting a terrorist attack arranged by vampires, after which your project will be adopted unanimously.”

“Good luck.” I bowed, looking in the back of the quickly departing future speaker of the council. He did not even look in my direction, rushing forward with the persistence of a locomotive. Heh, it seems my win is predetermined. It remains only to trample the enemy into the mud, and I can rest on my laurels.

The military base greeted us with uneven gray walls, devoid of any decoration. Apparently, this building was built just a few hours ago. The portable tactical complex, on which the map of the polygon was displayed, spoke about this. Through the window visible the slender rows of humanoid robots. Even the heels of these cans of a slightly different color were in the room, acting as my rival's bodyguards. Apparently, he also encountered a certain resistance of the environment in the form of kill attempts on his life.

In addition to us, there were representatives of the military who were going to follow the course of the confrontation. The Council watched us remotely, without pulling its volumetric asses from the comfortable seats. A middle-aged man in a uniform dotted with medals approached us and began the instruction.

“So, Arnold Schwarzkopf, Sammael Tamuz, everything is ready for testing. You will need to send your troops to the points indicated on the map, after which I will give the command at the beginning of the battle. You can use any weapons and tactics. The landfill will be covered with a powerful force field, so you can not worry about collateral damage. The barrier will withstand even a nuclear explosion of a hundred megatons. Alas, in this case, it badly transmits electromagnetic radiation, so it can be called a night battle. We will observe what is happening with the help of remote surveillance. But as you understand, these means can be destroyed by accidental fire. The most reliable means of observation is a spatial scanner. But it can only give out tactical information, not an image. This is a battle to destroy, and therefore the use of waiting and ambush tactics should be limited. Any combat unit can be masked for no more than two minutes in a row, after which there should be a break per minute. The goal of both sides is to get to this circle a hundred meters in diameter, and then destroy the enemies there. If a combat unit can enter a circle, but does not do this, then it will be considered as defeated. If a soldier entered the circle, but stepped out of him for more than ten seconds, he would also be read the defeat. If I tell you that someone need to left the battlefield, then you must command to that unit to stop the attack and retreat beyond the boundaries of the circle. Questions?”

I looked at my opponent.

“What a sign is considered as the inability of the enemy to continue the fight?” I asked.

“Lack of offensive activity for two minutes.”

“No more questions.”

The general looked at me.

"They just need to go and destroy everything that looks like a robot. What questions could there be? Job for five minutes.”

The military nodded and gave the command to nominate troops. Arnold began to tinker with some kind of wrist gadget, which, apparently, allowed him to control the robots. I contacted my telepathic team. Ten minutes later, all preparations were completed, and a hemisphere of darkness rose above the range.

One of the officers approached us and decided to conduct a small educational program.

“This force field is called the shield of darkness. The dimming function is a way of protecting against a light hitting factor. For example, during a nuclear explosion or from laser radiation. Now is the day, so the light of the sun activates this barrier function, hiding what is happening from us. But at night it is almost transparent, which allows you to monitor events in the optical range.”

"Ten-second readiness." There was a voice of the operator controlling the tactical complex.

I looked at the screen with interest, at the same time receiving information from my troops via the telepathic channel. Barrier did not affect the effectiveness of this method of communication.

Oak gave the command, and their whole group ran forward. The impenetrable darkness reigned around, but a very small part of the light still penetrated under the dome, so that their supersensitive eyes gave out quite a tolerable picture. The terrain was rugged. Shrubs and trees were interspersed with deep craters with melted edges and small hills with steep slopes.

Ahead flashed a few robots who decided to meet the enemy first. Shots of armor-piercing spells immediately went off at him. Alas, the distance was too large, and the soldiers were able to dodge or put up a shield. Still, the reaction of the computer exceeds the human, even if the person is in a more perfect body. However, it did not matter. At close range, the main parameters will be the speed of movement and the strike force of the weapon.

A dozen robots, one of which was larger than the others, emerged from the bushes. This meeting was not a surprise for any of the parties, so immediately there was an exchange of shots, the result of which was the destruction of one of the robots that fell under the crossfire of four vritras. The enemy's has high level defense, so the weak spells simply slipped off the their armor.

The tenth large robot aimed a weapon to Mark and shot something completely killer, so that the latter was literally torn to pieces. Fortunately, the shot was not instantaneous, so the target managed to move the main crystal to the foot, removing it from the blow.

“Destroyed one unit on each side.” The tracking system operator commented on this event. Arnold looked at me triumphantly.

“Stop fooling around.” I send the telepathic command. “This is not game.”

Kiril responded with mental agreement and gave his subordinates a mental headset. Immediately literally hundreds of spells fell on the robots, turning those into smoking electronic stuffing. But the vrytras did not have time to celebrate the victory, as three dozen more enemies slipped out from behind a small hill. It seems that the terminators decided to destroy the enemy even on the way to the given battlefield.

Mark Three lost most of his body, and therefore he bored into the ground, restoring mass due to the surrounding matter. Unfortunately, the titanium content in the soil was close to zero, so he had to use the "civilian" version of the filler. Six vritras rushed forward, taking the bulk of their opponents, while Mateo remained to cover his comrade.

A dozen more robots leaped from the flank, who rushed at the seemingly lonely target. When one of them ran past the place of Mark's "death," he jumped out of the ground and struck the terminator with a hand to the chest, piercing the armor. The remaining nine was destroyed by massive magical shelling from Mateo. The robots, of course, attacked in response, but the maximum that was enough for them was to make a couple of holes in the target, which were delayed in a second.

“It is tasty!” In the telepathic message, Mark was surprised. “There are so many different metals. And there is titanium too.”

After a second, his body began to absorb inside the robot through the hole made. Robot tried to resist, but after a couple of seconds its electronic offal disappeared and became part of the body vritras.

“Comfortable suit.” Mark noted, flowing into all technical cavities and absorbing all that he considered superfluous. The last part of his body disappeared into the chest of the robot and mimicked the armor, closing the hole. From the outside, he now looked like another terminator.  “There is even some kind of protective magic on the armor. And the composition is not bad. Nanocomposite of tungsten carbide, titanium, chromium and nickel droplets.”

“Enough to taste it already.” An annoyed thought came from Kirill. “Go from the flank.”

Deuce immediately jumped off, bending around the hill. Mateo on the run changed shape, also pretending to be a robot.

“It is necessary to induce interference to bring down their system of recognition of allies.”  He suggested.

“So do it.” Answered Kirill. “Put a stationary jammer with an adaptive block jamming.”

“It will take a couple of minutes.”

Mateo changed course and disappeared into the bushes covering the hill. Not a single twig moved on its way to the top. The body of the vritras flowed around all the obstacles like a liquid.

Mark ran onto the battlefield, occupying a superior height, from where he covered a large group of robots with an areal spell. The "acid cloud" not only corroded the armor, but also reduced a visibility. The six dived into the fog and began to carve the robots into pieces. The "betrayal" of one of the terminators turned out to be so unexpected that none of the opponents even tried to prevent the use of the areal spell, although it took at least a couple of seconds to use it.

A minute later, the whole group of robots was destroyed, and five of the eight vritras got a fashionable armored suit. Such protection turned out to be superfluous, because some terminators possessed highly insidious weapons penetrating magic shields. Judging by the tactics of the enemies, they hoped to break the vritras into small enough pieces so that they could not regenerate. And the new progressive armor was a good way to counter this approach.

In the meantime, its tragedy unfolded at the observation post.

“I lost the signature of five vritras.” Reported officer. "But instead, the radar gives out five targets that are not recognized as humans or robots."

“And what is visible on the camera?”

“All the drones and stationary cameras in the combat zone were destroyed. According to the records, both parties took an active part in this act of vandalism.”

The general gave us a condemning look and again focused on the screen with tactical information. I also looked at Arnold. On his face all traces of an approaching panic were shown.

“Do not worry you so.” I encouraged him. "This is just a game of higher order entities."

“You do not understand! If I lose ... He ... He will do IT with me again! Or come up with something else.”

Yes-aaa ... the fate of a barter pawn is hard. Good thing I win. Gee-gee-gee.

Ten minutes later, eight vritras, dressed in almost untouched suits from the terminators, stood in the prescribed zone, idly looking around.

"Has anyone thought how many we have already killed?" Narayan inquired, turning the ‘spare helmet’ in his hands, which seemed to him more beautiful than the model he had taken.

“Lot.” Mateo Hidalgo replied thoughtfully. “More than three for sure. But it is not important. If they do not attack within two minutes, they will automatically lose.”

“You know how to count only to three?”

“I do not need more.”

The lazy skirmish continued until the power shield turned off, and bright sunshine flooded the earth around.

“Fixing the end of battle. Eight objects of unknown nature are located in the center of the selected area. Two minutes have passed, the winner is determined. It remains only to find out to which side these objects belongs to.”  Issued a tactical officer.

“Turn off your shield of darkness.” The general commanded, looking at us. I portrayed the serenity itself, and Arnold froze with a wax statue and also did not express any emotions. “Hey you there, drag your fat asses here.”  shouted the general, turning on the speakerphone.

Eight figures looked at each other and with quick jumps rushed in our direction. In the meantime, we walked out of the building as a crowd and turned our attention to a strip of trees, due to which the winners were to come out.

“I told you that my robots will win!” happily exclaimed Arnold, barely seeing the silhouettes among the dense vegetation. He laughed happily, but there was a hysterical note in that laugh.

Meanwhile, the eight "robots" approached us, and the most closer to us took off his head mask, under which was the human head of Kirill Dubrovsky.

“Boss, can we order such suits? Only it is necessary to alter them slightly, but in some places the connection is unreliable.”

My opponent loudly hiccupped and widened his eyes.

“It can not be! These are my robots.”

“Just outside.” Mark laughed, also pulling off his helmet. "But if that calms you down, they were pretty tasty."

“No! You are not them. Destroy them!” It looks like Arnold's roof has run down completely. Terminators guarding him responded to the team, who immediately turned their weapons on vritras.

“Do not spoil the trophies!” Exclaimed Narayan, rushing into hand-to-hand.

A scuffle ensued, accompanied by numerous robots shots. My bodyguards could not use all their strength, because there were too many soldiers around. A pair of blaster charges flew past Arnold, who was in a stupor, and a brilliant idea came to my mind.

A light mental message to Kirill for one was received by the whole team, and following my wish, Frank slightly deflected with magic one of the blaster shots, which as a result hit Arnold right in the forehead. The lifeless body fell to the ground, and the resistance of the robots immediately ceased.

“Fixed the death of the master. I activate the self-destruct protocol.” The "culprit" boomed out of the premature death of one of the figures, after which it exploded, scoring the surrounding fragments of his armor. A second later, the same fate befell all the other terminators in the area.

I repaired injuries of my body and stared at the mangled human corpse, which in fact was not even my enemy. What is good to disappear?

“I sacrifice this figure to the Judge.”

Immediately the world exploded with energies, and I felt how my soul was torn out of a crystal, which immediately crumbled into the sand because of the activated system of self-destruction. I didn't want at least one full copy of Vritras to remain in this world after my death. In the meantime, my soul appeared before five terrifying Entities that they was almost impossible to perceive because of the power emanating from them.

“How dare you break the rules?” cried one of the Entities. “You killed my figure.”

“He committed suicide.” I tried to justify myself.

“Moron!” Reached me whispers Being.

"You recognized his death at your hands when you sacrificed him." Announced the indifferent voice of the Judge.

“The Being must be punished.”

“I protest! According to the rules of playing ability, I do not get any consequences from this murder, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.”

“Then the responsibility lies on the Judge!” Do not let up a strange entity. The two remaining entities remained silent.

“You want too much. I am not under the jurisdiction.” Objected the Judge. “You agreed with the rules of this game.”

“So you need to punish him!” The entity's finger of fire pointed directly at me.

“I decide who, for what and how to punish.” The Judge carefully examined me, piercing my soul with his chilling gaze. “I will take away his two energy centers. And he will start the next game in one of my worlds.”

Then an unbearable pain pierced my soul, and I felt how my two "tails" were pulled out, leaving gaping wounds.

“In the meantime, I take him.” The Being stretched hands to me. “The game is still ongoing. This small and big.”

Two almost imperceptible patches lay on my wounds, turning the agony into just intolerable flour. After that, darkness surrounded me, and my mind went out.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Nasty Goblin

I woke up, still in pain. I will not say that my condition has improved, but now at least I did not want to give anything for the sake of immediate death. These Deities! They dared to disfigure me, tear off a part of my soul. I hate it !

“Blame yourself for this.” Being's voice was heard. “If you had not confessed to the murder, you would have recognized this death as an accident. And because everything is so perfect. You did not give the order to the person who caused the death of the figure. And the rules do not restrict ordinary people to make their decisions. And after everything was done, you yourself signed the sentence, sacrificing the figure.”

Hate in my mind mingled with irritation. If we talk about the court, I did not confess to the murder. It was an unauthorized attempt to use gaming ability. But it was for the Judge to get his victim and put me as the scapegoat.

“Yes you are right.” Agreed Being. "But you yourself fell into this trap. However, let's forget about it. You helped me a lot in this game. Again! But this time it was almost fair, and I hit the jackpot. People, or rather vritras as their heirs, won this war. Oh, oh, oh, would you see what they did. They turned off the birth control mechanism and in just a hundred years settled the entire galaxy. They did not just destroy the other races. They swallowed their worlds! Imagine - an endless ocean twenty kilometers deep, consisting entirely of bodies vritras. These creatures lost their human form, almost lost their mind, but still continued to fuck and multiply. Two hundred years later, they were the only form of life in the galaxy.”

“It was difficult to expect something else.”  I squeezed out, overcoming pain.

“So you did it on purpose?” Enthusiasm in the voice of the Being was replaced by insidious interest.

“Of course not. I had my goals. Simply, humans ... are simple humans. Pathetic creatures, whose senseless existence is directed only to meet the needs of animal instincts. Pathetic, but cunning and clever, though dull as earthworms. They do not want to recognize the need for self-control. Therefore, as soon as they are freed from the shackles of the law, they immediately turn into ruthless all-devouring creatures. So the ending described by you is quite natural.”

“OU! You are such a philosopher. One of the few philosophers who has retained a sound view of the world. Yes, you are right. Vritras turned into an all consuming monster. Imagine, in the end, when they set their sights on conquering other galaxies, we compelled to destroy the whole galaxy. Literally, evaporate it completely, and then throw them into a black hole along with all these crazy souls. Oh, oh, what a spectacle.”

Judging by the transmitted emotions, the Being was in real ecstasy and a clear degree of drinking. It seems that with this game it has pulled a lot of its kindred.

“But let's get back to you. According to the decision of the Judge, you must be embodied in his world. I even picked up a suitable body for you there - an old sick goblin shaman, who has only a couple of months left to live. So you will quickly be tormented, and go free with a clear conscience.”

I did not have time to protest, I lost consciousness again. I woke up already wrapping myself in some kind of rag lying on a steadfast stone surface.

“What are the rules?” I thought, sending a thought into space.

“No rules.” There was a whisper of the Being. Blow up whole world if you want.”

There was a fading manic laughter, and again I was left alone with the harsh reality. Everything hurt me. The puny body ached, torn apart by coughing, the overworked magic core ached, and most importantly, the soul ached, in which gaped non-healing wounds. I felt that the patches installed by the Creature were a temporary solution. I need Bahion to heal my injuries. And for me, no one was going to spend this value.

Then another cold and indifferent voice penetrated my consciousness. Judge! My mind shook with overwhelming hatred.

“If you want to return your energy centers, then I can give them in exchange for three Points each.”

“And you can heal my soul and return everything as it was?” With a mixture of hatred, contempt and ridicule, I squeezed back.

“ ... Five souls for each tail.” The judge issued after a short pause. "And I will heal your wounds."

“Good. You will get your victims.” I agreed. “Only then do not complain. Being told me that in this world there are no rules in the game.”

“Yes it is.” In the hushed voice of the Judge, there were notes of gloating. “I hope you prove your usefulness.”

The alien presence in the mind disappeared again, and I stretched weakly on a hard surface, trying to take on at least some comfortable position in which my bones would not try to pierce the skin.

Here is the Being! Want to move coal with my hands? No matter how, I can be find way to solve problem with you.

“Not one of you will eat the earth. All die without forgiveness. To forgive sins is for me to decide. I'm a scapegoat.” The lines from the song of Vysotsky themselves surfaced in consciousness, turning into a curse addressed to "higher forces."

Finally, I found the strength to open my eyes, rise from the bed and look around. I was in a spacious cave with bright sunlight pouring into the narrow entrance. Somehow collecting limbs in a heap, I wandered to the exit, for one looking around the room. Goof and poverty. That's what I saw before me. The body I got was on my last legs. Clothes on me were tatters of unknown origin. And the most valuable thing in the cave looked like a stone - a large piece of hematite that plays the role of the table.

I went outside and surveyed the environs of Lake Onega. Well, maybe not Onega, but some lake was present here. I stood on the side of a mountain, and forests, swamps and a lake spread out in front. Somewhere on the horizon, mountains were still visible, stretching as far as the eye could see.

Neighborhoods were also not disfigured by a raid of civilization. Some gray-green humanoid appearance wandered here and there, doing their own goblinoid affairs.

“Great shaman, are you feel better, and you decided to honor us with your attention?” A haggard kid addressed me, rubbing something in a mortar, sitting near the cave entrance.

My student Bonehead. It looks like I got some part of the donor's memory. And the last time I could not even remember my name. By the way, what is my name here?

“Kolchenog, what did you get out of your hole?” A shriveled old lady with a long nose addressed me. “Really decided the last time to look at the sun before dying?”

“Do not wait, old hag.” I waved away.

Well, the names here. Interestingly, was she called Kargoy in her childhood? Memory refused to give an answer to this question. A few seconds later, I remembered that the old woman looked like a dried apple back in the days when I walked under the table - thirty winters ago. Yeah, the harsh life of goblins. Thirty years - and you are a very old man.

“And nothing I am not old.” objected grandmother. “I'm still full of juice.” In her voice came lustful notes.

“Say it to Bonehead. Maybe he will fell into your charms.”

Indicated, Bonehead squeezed his eyes in horror and began to crawl softly to the cave. Grandma burst out laughing, watching the increasing panic of her future lover.

“Ha ha ha. At all you are not care about your student.”

“Why take care of it? He has the seventh winter on the nose. If you do not find a wife before the first snow, I will compel to give him to you.”

Bonehead rushed off, shouting while running

“Uncle Lopear, Uncle Lopear, give me your daughter as a wife!”

The whole village stopped its activities and began to stare at unexpected entertainment.

“Oh-ho-ho-ho. You will drive me to the tomb. I haven't laughed like that for a long time.”  Hag shed tears.

We fell silent and silently watched the matchmaking. Bonehead was a shaman's student and an enviable bridegroom, but Lopear was known as the strongest warrior of the tribe after the leader and wanted to barter his only daughter for a weapon for his eight sons. A blacksmith from a neighboring village did not go to such an exchange, agreeing no more than two rusty knives.

I was distracted from the passions of local importance and thought about my fate. I lost the sources of the magic of spiders and chakras. But at the same time, I still had the structure of Vritras, which had spider magic in itself. This body also possessed magic, but it was kind of strange. And most importantly, this magic was barely enough to feed the spirits that the previous owner of this body called for. Shamanism cannot be called energetically disadvantageous for any of the parties. Spirits so finely weave lace exposure, that the energy they have on it takes even less than that of the most gifted spider.

It remains only to think how to become stronger. I looked around and sat down on a bench specially installed in a sunny place. The sun shone through the cold autumn air, and the old body tried to just sit and enjoy the last days.

Well no! Stay calm and carry on. I must achieve immortality and return what was stolen. I folded my hands in a gesture of concentration of the chakra and sent crumbs of magical energy through the body, trying to clear my mind.

On the idea of gaining power, the memory of the shaman gave information about the ancient ritual of awakening the magic of dragons. At the cost of his life, the magician could translate the magic core into the afterburner mode, acquiring for a few minutes great power. The energy flowing through the organism was much cleaner and stronger than the swamp fluid used by the magicians of this world. And as soon as time was running out, the magician burned in a magical flame, leaving anything behind even ash.

The ritual was not so difficult. But not every magician decided to hold it. As a rule, they resorted to him only to save the life of the whole tribe, when any other way of salvation was impossible. Rumors said that even a month after the ritual in this place, there were emanations of pain that the magician experienced in the last seconds of life. The lucky ones managed to kill themselves before the power went out of control. I think I will have only one chance. This should be enough to create a crystal with a soul trap.

I started doing mathematical calculations, but soon I came to the conclusion that even after amplification, my strength would not be enough to create Vritras. At least not enough to create a full version. But you can try to do the simplest, just providing access to normal magic. And then the container can be changed to a full one. I just had to think of a way to create the necessary spiritual envelopes. They demanded most of the energy for their creation.

There was only one way left - sacrifice, the bloody and painful death of the gifted, whose spiritual shells I will use as a temporary solution. It is like wrapping up in a shroud of leather that has just been torn from a person's body. Disgusting decision. But what can you do for the integrity of your soul?

Lost in thought, I did not notice how the sun was leaning towards the sunset, and the cold launched its tentacles under the rags. I had to get up and move my skinny butt to the fire inside the cave, around which happy Bonehead was already bustling around. It seems that Lopear gave his consent, although, knowing him, we can say that the price was considerable.

I did not ask my nominal disciple, but in fact a new shaman of the tribe about his affairs. For me, these goblins are nobody. Only because of the emotions and memory of this body, I don't think about how to sacrifice them all. It is worth focusing on your problems, or you can't see my tails as your ears. I squinted at my ear, covering my right shoulder like a cape, sighed and concentrated on thinking about a plan.

Three days later at noon, I left the cave and went to the chief of the tribe. Fatbel rules this village for the eighth year, which made him quite experienced by the standards of goblins. He met me on the threshold of the house and silently led inside, showing respect.

“What brought you, Kolchenog, to my house?” He asked after we both drank a cup of herbal broth with honey.

“Leader, my death is not far off. It stands behind my shoulder and waits until I take my last breath.” The leader looked at my shoulder and superstitiously averted his eyes to the side.  “Before I die, I would like to help the village for the last time. The tribe of marsh goblins have long been sharpening a tooth on us. And as soon as they learn about my death, then that day they will go to war with us.”

I fell silent, sipping the second cup of drink. Judging by the memories of Kolchenog, it was the second time in the last ten years, when he drank a drink with honey.

“The tribe is not ready for war.” objected darkened Fatbel.

“I know.” According to I nodded, pouring myself a third cup of tea. I decided to go all in.  “Therefore, there will be no war. I want to wake up my dragon heart and kill the chief marsh shaman in a one-on-one duel.”

This time the leader really started and turned gray. About the magic of dragons among simple goblins scary stories. He filled my cup for the fourth time, pouring out the remnants of the "drink of the gods."

"You don't need to do this."

“I know.” The old and wise shaman agreed in my face. “This is my own choice. I want to die in a duel, saving a tribe, and not in a stinking hole, shaking from the cold. Let a song about how I died as hero, not how I clung to life, be laid down about me, and the sun of the tribe set with me.”

The leader nodded grimly. The desire for fame was not uncommon even among the goblins. But my act would be recognized as heroic even by the worst enemies.

“What do you suggest?”

The drink was over, and with a sigh I set the empty cup on the table.

“In a week, the Smellybelly will begin to offer sacrifices to its marsh god. On the second day, only a small forces will remain to guard him. I will prepare a ritual site in the near forest, and then I will lure this half-educated shaman there.”

“After the sacrifice, he will be at the peak of his strength.” countered the leader.

"And that's why he decides not to run away, but to attack me. I will awake the dragon magic in my body and sacrifice it to the spirits. You will only have to not let the enemy soldiers stop me. If something goes wrong ... leave.”

Fatbel thought about my plan for a long time, but finally agreed. For him and for the whole tribe, this was the best way out of the possible. Even if the attempt fails, it will make it clear to all enemies in the area that the mountain goblin tribe can give such a punish that even victory will turn into defeat.

After the group of the best hunters advanced to explore the swamps, I began to embody the second part of the plan. I needed to create a receptacle for my soul - a two-by-three ruby. I knew how to make it with magic, but my strength was not even enough for it.

I had to resort to ritual magic, which I had not used since the construction of the ziggurat on the planet of demons. A ritual-artifact circle with the desired spell scheme took its place in the darkest corner of the cave. I strictly forbade my disciple to even approach there. My calculations were correct, and the crystal grew in full accordance with the program. After it is ready, all that remains is to cast a spell on him, to nourish with the energies of the sacrifice, and it will be possible to move into a new body.

On the appointed day, I went to the leader in the morning, where we once again discussed in detail the plan for the operation. Intelligence reported that the events at the swamps were going in strict accordance with the traditions, so that at least one could not worry about this part of the plan.

At noon I returned to the cave and went to pick up the crystal from the circle. It was only on the spot that I discovered a broken ritual circle and the complete absence of an essential element of my plan. Hate flooded my mind, and I headed for the exit, spreading waves of horror. Damned son-of-bitch took away a part of my soul, and now even some creature prevents me even to return the lost.

I went to the main hall of the cave, and Bonehead rushed to meet me with eyes wide with horror.

“Where is it?”  I hissed, piercing with index finger into his shoulder.

“What is the teacher?” he hissed in response to the pain shaking his body.

“The gem that you stole from the circle.”

“I did not steal anything, teacher.”

“Then who could pass around you here?”

At the same time, we turned our heads and stared at the new cave dweller — the wife of my student. I pulled my finger out of the flesh and out of the corner of my eye noticed how the edges of the wound had charred. Bonehead himself rushed forward and with a running start drove the thief with his fist straight into the face. She flew back a couple of steps and screamed, after which the young shaman began to beat her. Finally, the cries were replaced by mournful hissles, and the disappearance was immediately found.

Bonehead brought me a stone, which I literally plucked from his hands. After reviewing the offering, I almost howled in annoyance. This bitch did not just steal it, she tried to drill a hole in it to hang around her neck as an ornament. She did not achieve much success, but she was able to cut off the edges of a pair of magical symbols.

"You nasty whore," I cried, coming into uncontrollable rage, "your children will be covered with scales and feathers in your belly, and you will give birth to them against scales."

A drop of power fell from my hand that I had been saving all week, and was transformed into a ritual curse sealing into her body. Now, any goblin mage can’t dispel it. I squeezed the stone in my hand and headed for the exit. But after three steps I stopped and turned around to the slutty bitch, who had not even thought of feeling guilty.

“And this is for you for trying to steal tribe shaman’s thing.”

Another spell slipped from my hand. It was a legacy of spiders who knew a lot about torture. An inhuman screech screwed into my ears, giving peace in my heart. The cries accompanied me all the way to the leader's hut, from where I had gone out just ten minutes ago.

“What happened?” Fatbel rushed to meet me.

"This female of the woodlouse stole and damaged the amulet I was going to use in battle.”

“That is ... everything will cancel?” The goblin turned very gray, unconsciously clutching his heart. It looks like he has some problems with it. But this is not my business.

“No. We will perform tomorrow. I will borrow the sanctuary of the spirits and try to restore the amulet. Give orders. Let them bring me food, and no one dares to go to the sanctuary until tomorrow evening.”

Without asking if he understood me, I walked out of the shack and wandered to the sanctuary, pleasing my ear with the cries of a thief who stood in my way. Finally, my student guessed to stun the bitch with a spell, and the concert, at the request of the listeners, stopped.

The sanctuary was something of a local temple. Only if the shaman's workplace was at the same time his dwelling, then the sanctuary was a "sacred" place that could not be defiled by daily worries. I didn't care much about these superstitions, especially how many of these concerns do I have left? I was more interested in the magic concentrated here, which I was going to use to restore the stone. Let the goblins then thank this bitch for the fact that their temple no longer attracts spirits.

I spent the night and the whole next day without sleep. I managed to create a simplified ritual circle and restore the damage, but the violations in the structure of the crystal remained, and I could only hope that they would not be fatal.

In the evening I had lunch, and allowed myself a nap for a couple of hours. But as soon as I woke up, I realized that night vigils with the tension of the magic core at my age do not pass for nothing. The body entered the last peak and confidently moved towards death. Hurry up.

A squad of the best soldiers of the village went to the sanctuary at sunset. I examined my escorts and was relieved to see that Lopear was not among them. Apparently, the leader himself guessed that father, who thirsts for revenge, does not need me in the team.

“Kolchenog, something you look pale.” Worried Fatbel.

“Thank for this brainless bitch and shaman-sucker.” I spat. “ Come on, time is precious.”

We ran through the evening forest, but after three hundred meters I fell to the ground with a bag of shit. When a goblin stops wearing his legs, his days become numbered. In this world, even the famous proverb sounded like "goblin legs are fed."

"Fatbel, I am ashamed to say this, but some of you will have to carry me. Or I will have time to get to the marshes only after the first frosts.”

The leader silently gave a sign, and one of the tallest goblins caught me and threw me on his shoulders. The run continued, and this time we moved much faster. By midnight the detachment was in place. While the scouts went to find out the state of affairs in the camp of the enemy, I began to draw another ritual circle. God, what have I come to? Using these crutches to use the simplest spell.

Our plan was pretty simple. Now the marsh goblin shaman named Smellybelly finished the sacrifice of one of his relatives. Knowing the tastes of this generation of slugs, one could be sure that it was a young goblin that he continuously raped the last few days. The more the victim suffered and enjoyed before she died, the more she was worth in the peculiar market of draft spirits. Now the shaman paid for the deal, and then for a year the spirit served the tribe.

This sacrifice was the third in a row, which means that on the side of the shaman there will be two full strengths of spirit. The first sacrifice was guarded by an additional detachment, and then the shaman should have had enough strength to protect himself. There was no need to remain an extra day in the camp, swarming with evil spirits. I was planning to attack the shaman yesterday, but this bitch! ... I suppressed anger and focused on doing the work.

At the moment of greatest stress, I was going to stop the sacrifice, multiplying to zero the efforts of the shaman over the past few days. The last spirit was supposed to be the strongest. The previous two sacrifices were only a way to attract the most powerful beasts from the world of evil spirits. If I interrupt the ritual, it will be a real spit in the face of this shaman. Of course, the ritual can be repeated, but the tribe may not understand. And so every year they are forced to give the three best young men or women for the sake of satisfying the bloodthirsty spirits.

So you can be sure that the shaman will not tolerate this, and will try to take revenge in order to present my head as an explanation of the reasons for his failure. Now he is at the peak of his power, and even if the whole tribe came here, we could not be sure that we could kill him.

But everything changed by the fact that I was going to awaken the dragon heart in me. For a few minutes my strength will increase so that I can twist the ram's horn of an enemy shaman and all his spirits. It is only necessary to correctly guess the time and prepare the battlefield.

I straightened my aching back and examined the results of my labors - a huge ritual circle almost twenty meters in diameter. This direction of magic was unknown to goblins, so the shaman is unlikely to suspect anything. This place was the only place to get to the "runaway" me, unless the shaman was going to go swimming in the bottomless swamp. And as soon as he enters the boundaries of the circle, I will activate a barrier that will be able to keep the magician and his tame spirits. After this, it will be necessary only slowly to activate the magic core in the afterburner mode and use all the preparations for turning into vritras. A simple defensive circuit will protect me from the arrows, and the soldiers of the tribe will cover me from the attack by hand-to-hand.

I moved to the desired distance, drew another circle with a protective contour, and then focused on the world of spirits. The returning scouts confirmed that everything was going according to plan, and I closed my eyes, plunging into a trance.

A round dance of spirits circled around a dying victim. The girl has long been desperate to escape. She prayed for death, prayed for someone to quickly eat her and give peace, but the body continued to live, fueled by the magic of the shaman.

And here, the dance of youngsters sprinkled to the sides, avoiding a huge creature that "emerged" from the depths of the world of spirits. As an experienced fisherman, Smellybelly made the victim tremble on the verge of death, luring him closer for whom the whole performance was being started. The spirit was good. Strong, malicious, reasonable enough to be able to execute an order, but not tricky enough to be able to reach the victim bypassing the treaty trap. The otherworldly creature was still in doubt, turning circles, but with every second its hunger became inflamed more and more, forcing it to lose caution.

And here, the spiritual world pierced the harsh sound of a broken string. The space split into pieces, and in one of the fragments a called spirit, and in the other the victim finally broke free from the shackles of flesh, after which it was torn apart by a whole gang of younger spirits. Weak and evil, they knew nothing in their lives except the feeling of overwhelming hunger. And even the presence of powerful spirit did not stop them. After all, they have seen that right now powerful spirit is unable to harm them. And then it will be later. As they say, ‘they can’t catch up’.

A flock of well-fed spirits flitted in different directions, and my mocking laughter swept through the world of spirits. The great spirit irritatedly send the wave of energy to the shaman who had "deceived" it and disappeared into the unimaginable depths of a multidimensional space. The fierce cry of Smellybelly was a real delight to my ears. And the curious middle spirits with joy picked up my laughter, spreading the news of the next failure of the stupid mortal.

“Kolchenog !” There was a response cry, filled with rage and anger, and flavored with a bit of powerlessness and pain. "I'll find you and shatter your guts, I will sacrifice you to Dagon.”

In response, my scornful laughter rang out, followed by the hubbub of the voices of spirits. It was not worth Belly mention this name, and even more screaming it to the whole world of spirits. Now the weak spirits will be afraid to come to his call, and the strong stirits will first of all ask if he fulfilled his promise. The enemy shaman understood this, and therefore abruptly returned to his body in order to find me in the material world. If he does not fulfill his threat, he will in fact cease to be a shaman.

Be in my place the real Kolchenog, he would not hesitate to cut his throat and leave the enemy with nothing. But I didn't need a victory in a magical duel, not the safety of my tribe, and not even glory with honors. I needed a sacrifice with a "fleshy" spiritual body that I could use in my ritual. Therefore, I remained standing still, shifting most of my attention into the material world, but continuing to observe the situation in the spiritual world.

The victim appeared within sight within ten minutes. The waning moon gave enough light for the goblin's vision to distinguish the world around it. Seeing me, confidently standing in front, Smellybelly became alert. But he had no choice. Either he sacrifices me to Dagon, or he can cut his throat right here without bothering with attempts to explain something to the leader of the tribe.

“Kolchenog, I will destroy your village.”  shouted the shaman, making his way forward and carefully inspecting the land in front of him for traps. My attendants hid in the bushes, exposing me as easy prey. But the warriors who sneak after the shaman were in no hurry to attack me.  Shamans battle are not for mere mortals. The attack of a simple warrior could cause the wrath of spirits and bring trouble to the whole village. Now, if there were no Emptybelly, then events would have taken a different turn.

“And how are you going to do this? You are no longer a shaman.” I laughed. Enemy warriors exchanged glances and approached a little more, almost resting on a small isthmus connecting two islands surrounded by impassable swamp. Only knowledge of secret paths and the help of spirits could help goblins out of this place into the forest.

“My power over the spirits is stronger than ever.” My opponent objected, manifesting two tame spirits in the material world. This trick did not frighten me at all, but ordinary warriors darted to the sides.

“We both know that it is not. Come on, attack me. Or are you so powerless that you send soldiers to kill a half-dead old man, hiding behind their backs?”

Judging by the gritted teeth, this is exactly what Belly was going to do. But the battle of the shamans had to follow a certain code that too many knew. If he shows weakness, then his own warriors will kill him. The shaman had power over his fellow tribesmen, only while instilled in them fear. Once he admitted that he had lost power over the other world, he would turn into a pariah. No tribe will accept a goblin in its ranks, from which spirits have turned away.

“I'll cut your guts.”  shouted the shaman, taking a step forward.

“I already heard that. In the world of the dead, where your spirits left you.” The more I pressed on the mistake made by the Smelly Belly, the more angry he became. “Come on, call them. Create at least a marsh light.”

I laughed scornfully with that scornful laugh that he had already heard not so long ago. This was the last straw, and with a fierce cry, the shaman rushed forward without hesitation, waving a knife. As soon as he got inside the circle, I activated the trap, and the goblin fell to the ground, devoid of magical energy, which began to flow to me. Now I need any crumbs.

The warriors saw the shaman fall and rushed forward, but were discarded by a protective field installed around the perimeter of the circle. Several losers even fell into the water, barely getting out of the quagmire that was dragging them down. A dozen of the weakest spirits of water called by me made this part of the swamp impassable.

Once again I checked the state of the trap and began the ritual of awakening the magic core. The warriors threw a pair of knives, but they were rejected by the defense. I was already mentally celebrating the victory, when more than a hundred warriors seemed to come out of the forest, accompanied by the younger shaman of the tribe.

“What a luck.” I heard the voice of the disciple of the shaman, who had long since entered a mature age. "Now I will kill both of you, and next year we will destroy your tribe. This your sucker can not stop me.”

I, perhaps, agreed with the assessment of the abilities of my student. He was more a magician and herbalist than a shaman. However, I was more interested in the events taking place here and now. The reinforcements huddled on the opposite side, but they did not tear forward. While this was the confrontation of the shamans, simple warriors did not dare to intervene. They suspected that I was not alone, but until it was known for sure, the fear of spirits kept them in place.

"Are you so sure you can survive this year?" I laughed, continuing the awakening of the core. “Without the help of your rotten god, you will become easy prey. And we will not hesitate to tell about your weakness to the trolls of the northern ridge.”

Warriors bothered hubbub. Shamans are shamans, but if someone finds out about what happened, the whole tribe will die. It's not up to the observance of the "moral norms" of goblin society.

“Quiet!” Interrupted the emergence of panic student of the shaman. “I will take away for myself two spirits that my teacher has called. This, of course, is not three spirits, but they are quite enough to last a year. And in the spring we can spend another sacrifice, buying slaves from the same trolls.”

With his speeches, the student played into my hands. I have almost entered the desired state. Another minute, and I will spread these mortals into bloody mince. The hubbub died down, and the warriors stared with interest at the two of us. In the end, when else will happen to witness the battle of the shamans? In the usual battle somehow not up to it. My opponent stepped forward and, with a thoughtful look, tapped his staff on the force field.

“It is Magic. So you don't want to use spirits. Or you can not.”

The assumption was true. I was not familiar with the spirits that the donor of my body had been feeding my whole life. For them, I was no more attractive than a stranger with traces of the owner's smell for dogs.

The shaman waved his hands, and a whole pack of spirits rushed from him to me. To his misfortune, the goblin's intelligence was not enough to understand the essence of the trap in front of him. The power shield did not hold the spirits for a moment. But as soon as they got inside the circle, the spell drank all magic power of them, sending the entire pack back to the other world, and even angered them at their master for such a setup. The furious cry of the shaman pleased my hearing. Not further, as his teacher shouted a couple of minutes ago.

In the meantime, my core got rickety, and, through the pain, I still felt like a magician. As it turned out, I did not have enough. Two spells fell from my hands. One paralyzed the goblins in front of me, and the second pulled the immobile shaman's student inside the circle. As they say, much is not few - we'll throw out the excess.

Time was running out, so I immediately activated the ritual of creating a trap for souls. The spell was already embedded in the stone, and now it is unfolded and filled with energy, entering the working state. Here, the silence of the night broke many screams. Alas, this time the attackers went to our rear, so that the soldiers of my tribe had to fight, fulfilling their part of the agreement. Yes, and they had no other choice. The enemies came along the path that they were going to use for retreat.

While the whirlwind of battle was spinning alongside me, I concentrated on maintaining a steady flow of energy. Alas, as I expected, even such a gain was not enough to be considered a normal magician. I could barely cope with the support of the spell, and for a second I could not be distracted by helping the allies.

Finally, the first phase was over, and I began to tear the shamans out of the bodies of the soul. They screamed and threatened with all sorts of punishments, but could not resist my strength. Two spirits who accompanied the Smellybel also went into action. Tied to him by agreement, they could not hide in the world of the dead. After two long minutes, the process is over. I could already breathe a sigh of relief, but at that moment I felt my strength leaving me. My magic core completely burned out and began to disintegrate, giving me an unforgettable experience. However, this was nothing compared to the spiritual pain tormenting me.

On the remnants of forces, I activated the process of soul transfer. I even had to draw the last crumbs of energy from the protective spells I supported. And it was necessary for such a thing to happen that at this very moment one of the attackers rushed at me and pierced through his sword. The spell cracked and collapsed. I also tried to "climb" into the crystal myself, but I did not have the energy for its full activation, and the last crumbs poured out through a defect in the crystal structure.

If I had a drop of energy. If I had been pierced with a sword even for a couple of seconds later. If the student shaman did not bring help. If I attacked yesterday, and the enemies did not have time to learn about our plans. If this bitch had not stolen a stone. If…!

Already being a disembodied soul, I woke up from the cycle of regrets and saw the Judge before me.

“You died.” indifferently declared Judge.

"I want to use a justice point for my resurrection."  I gave back.

"You made a sacrifice, breaking the rules."

“The victim was accepted, so I have one point.”

“Your body has been destroyed by the ritual of awakening magic. According to the rules of this world, I cannot restore it.” The judge pointed to flaming sparks, scattering in all directions - all that remained of Kolchenog's body.

“My body is there.” I pointed to the crystal, lost in the tall grass.

“The body of vritras in this world? Interesting …”  Reached the judge. “I hope you are not going to multiply.”

“No. Categorically I do not plan. This knowledge is meant only for me.”

“Ok, I will resurrect you.” I felt a mockery from the Judge. It was the first time when I felt real emotions from him, and not their slightly noticeable echoes. “It will cost me just a drop of magical energy.”

The crystal of the soul flashed, and even the opponents who surrounded Fatbel froze for a second, marveling at the radiance of magic. My soul merged with the new receptacle, and the flow of magic, which they called magic of dragons, poured into my mind.

The shining star rose into the air, and then broke out in a series of spells that destroyed all the goblins in the area. Only Fatbel remained on his feet, who by this time was the only survivor among my entire squad. Well, I got what I wanted. And not the fault of Fatbel, that my plan almost failed. So it is worth helping him and his tribe.

A healing spell covered the leader, healing the wounds he had received and giving away his heart from old age. Now he will be able to remain the strongest warrior of the village for another ten years - an unheard of thing by the standards of goblins. I looked at the mutilated bodies of the soldiers, lingered for a second on the deformed corpses of shamans, whose flesh resembled a ghostly candle that had peeled off the skeleton, and then jerked towards the main camp of the mob goblin tribe. Five minutes later the tribe was finished. All that was left of them were burning huts and torn bodies.

Once again I looked around the neighborhood with my mind, and with a shining meteor I set off to the south. Then I finished my business. It remains to find a quiet place and complete the process of my revival in the form of Vritras.

By morning I found the right place. The output of basalt rocks could be seen from afar by the characteristic cracking of the stone in the form of six-sided columns. Nearby flowed a stream around which trees grew. All the necessary materials to create my new body were at hand.

The synthesis of a new crystal took only a couple of hours and then only because I was trying to recreate it with an accuracy of an atom. But I had to construct a device for moving me from one crystal to another until the evening. I really didn't want to be left without a body by mistake. At sunset, I moved to a new housing and calmly sighed, starting to create my own external body.

All night I brought myself to perfect condition. It was necessary to obtain all the necessary chemical elements, to optimize the energy flows in the body, to re-learn, finally, to act without the source of the magic of spiders in my soul. In general, there were enough cases.

In the morning I turned into a quadrocopter and flew in the direction of the nearest playing figure. As it turned out, the "gift" of the Judge allowed to determine the position of any figure on the planet and read the information about who he is, what he can and so on. This set of data could not be called a disclosure of abilities, but rather it allowed me to accurately identify the object. Agree, the knowledge that the figure is a druid, not a necromancer, helps a lot in search.

The nearest figure to me was a kind of "king" ruling a small-town country. He possessed dragon magic and was a fairly strong figure by local standards. What is characteristic, if in relation to other figures he was rated as "strong", then in relation to ordinary people his epithet was "godlike". And by the way, he was a man. I was convinced of the existence of people in this world in half an hour of flight.

When I had about ten kilometers to the city, I landed in the forest, assumed a human form, and removed the disguise spell. I had to integrate into local society, for which, first of all, I should have study the language. A person who speaks only the language of goblins looks at least strange.

Oriented to the cardinal points, I moved towards the nearest road. It was not a central road, but a seedy track between two villages. Soon I was walking on the dusty ground, trying to determine from the tracks who had traveled here before me. The presence of an unknown companion ahead gave out dust that had risen into the air. Honestly, I had never even imagined that there could be so much dust on the road, billowing into the air with every step. It's good that I don't need to breathe all this. And although ... this dust is full of chrome. I miss him. Probably worth the opposite to breathe deeply, ha ha.

I didn't really hurry anywhere, rather simply enjoying the existence of a Vritras. How much, after all, can be comfortable life, if the body was created not by God for people, but by man for himself. It is immediately obvious that ordinary organic life is a fair hack. Or vice versa, a perfected torture instrument. As I remember my torment in the body of a goblin, a shiver squeaks.

Half an hour later I reached a farm of five houses, and in one I caught up with a small cart drawn by an ordinary horse. On the goats was sitting quite a normal look ... goblin. However, after a few seconds, a man came out of the house who began to impress the newcomer by actively cramming the chicken into his hands. And not bad here goblins live. I drew attention to the decent-looking suit that my ideological relative wore. Finally, the goblin agreed to take the chicken and threw the coin to the person. He deftly caught her, bowed, and dragged her back to the courtyard.

I went to a local landowner and addressed in the purest goblin language.

“Hey, bloke, can you take me to the city?”

He looked at me in amazement, looked around at the dusty, but good-quality clothes and moved away.

“Take a sit. And hold the chicken.”

Feathered living creatures migrated into my hands. With a light movement, I jumped onto the goats, and the cart moved off.

“Future lunch?” I asked, inspecting the goods.

“No, it will carry eggs. And there, you see, and dinner will be.”

I watched the farm pass by. From the height of the cart it was clearly visible what was happening in the courtyards of this settlement. However, I did not see anything original. Ordinary village life. Unless one could notice the general prosperity of the peasants and the fact that they are not afraid of the attack of bandits or forest animals.

“Well, tell me how you has come to such a life?” The goblin demanded when the houses disappeared behind the trees."

“What kind of life?”  I was surprised.

“This is first time I meet a man who speaks the language of goblins without an accent. Yes, and in the northern dialect.”

“Oh, that. In my childhood I lived for several years in a village near goblins.”

I was measured by attentive eyes.

“And how is life in the north?”

“Harsh. Poverty is such that for one knife can cut half the village. Only at the expense of the shamans and survive.”

“Have you talked with the shaman?”

“I had to. Who else would you take me to the goblin village?”

So for an unhurried conversation, and passed our trip to the gates of the city. For one thing, I copied my knowledge of human language and local realities with a mental spell. Later I will  to understand them.

At the gate we were met by a pair of healthy goons in armor. And beyond the gates, a dozen more of the same were languishing from boredom. Goblin turned out to be a local celebrity. At least, they didn't repair the obstacles, and with a bow, they addressed him by name and took the little one for the train ride. They did not take money from passers-by, and they fought back and forth without hindrance.

Soon we got to the turn on a narrow street, where I returned the chicken transferred for safekeeping and said goodbye to the goblin. The carriage turned to the right, and I went forward, turning my head to the sides like a real tourist. For the sake of completeness, all that was missing was a chest with gold, independently following its master. Instead, I have a puffy purse on my belt with coins appearing through the fabric.

To start a normal human life, I needed money. And where to get money if you don't have it, but you don't want to work? Of course, rob someone. And following the proletarian ideology, the loot should have been robbed, that is, the robbers. So I portrayed a naive sucker, waiting for everything when they would begin to rob me, or at least robbed.

Walking along the main streets, I turned into narrow streets, then into lanes, then I got to some slums, but no one looked at me. Finally, in one of the narrow lanes of the working part of the city, three men with cold weapons in their hands blocked my path.

“Hey, you! Well, get out of here! Go out.”

I do not understand ... They will not rob me?

“What do you not understand? This is our area.”

“In the sense of yours?” I decided to clarify an unclear point. “Did you buy it? Or did the king give it to you ... personally?”

In response to my words, the men faces were twisted with fear, and they quickly dumped, leaving me without an answer to my questions. I scratched my head and decided to first study the information package about the world from the goblin's memories. Having walked another three hundred meters, I reached the city wall, on which a narrow staircase led. Walking up the stairs, I found myself near the guard post, who was following something, peering intensely at the suburbs.

In order not to interfere with this important matter, I cast a spell on myself, averting my gaze, and sat down on the parapet, looking at the sights of the city, and in one coat the goblin's memories.

This country was ruled by King Vandal. Finding this name, I almost fell off the wall. Well at least not Koshchey. And then I would have crammed the chests in the woods to look for. In general, the king lived, not grieving. He took care of his kingdom, and achieved considerable success in this field. In particular, he completely eradicated theft, robbery, corruption, and so on. The essence of this success was that the investigation and the inquiry were carried out by mental magics. And the only kind of punishment in the kingdom was the death penalty. At first, this, of course, caused mass executions, repressions, genocide and resettlement of peoples, but after twenty years, somehow it turned out that there were no more criminals in the country.

Since then, life in the kingdom of Vandal has improved day by day. True, technical progress was in place, but who needs it? Exactly not king. He has magic. Neighboring countries from time to time tried to correct such inequalities through wars and robberies, but the king gathered his army and quickly brought the right ideas to the heads of neighboring rulers, usually after chopping heads off according to the laws of wartime.

The only serious problem was the overseas evil sorcerers, who repeatedly arrived in the capital in order to sow discord, bring chaos and kill the king in one or another malicious way. In general, I immediately felt that one of the two of us is good here, and who is evil. I even felt a little ashamed that I was plotting the slaughter of such a wonderful king. True, these moral torments lasted exactly until the first attack of mental torments because of the wounds inflicted on me. After that, I somehow didn't care how many millions or billions of righteous and wonderful kings would be sacrificed to my well-being. For what is being materially as opposed to being spiritual? So, decay and vanity.

Realizing the current political situation, I returned to the analysis of memories of the planning of the city. The city was divided into three parts - external, middle and internal. In the outside allowed everyone. One could get into the middle only with documents, money and a reasonable reason for visiting him. In the internal city was the palace of the king and the home of the most famous magicians of the country. To get there for a person from the outside was completely impossible, if not at the personal invitation of the king.

The goblin was poorly aware of this side of the life of the city, and therefore I had to use one of the guards, who carried his service literally three meters away from me. Having pierced his thoughts, I realized that I can not pass to internal city in normal way. There were so many checks, traps, patrols and documents that it was easier to shoot myself. But there was still a way through the air. The aircraft here were not running, but the guard did not know anything about the device of the magical air defense.

I could only wait for the dark, and under the cover of night to parachute on the roof of the palace. It was located, by the way, on top of a hill, and had at least a couple of dozen floors, so from my place on the wall this hybrid of a temple and an office building was perfectly visible.

Sunset I met, watching the game of sunlight in the stained glass windows of the palace. The day was clear, but after sunset the clouds thickened, and after three hours there was pitch darkness outside. I considered this an auspicious sign, and therefore soared into the sky, hiding from curious eyes behind the clouds.

I decided to start looking at this king, for one thing checking the quality of his guard. Throwing on all possible types of camouflage, I silently planned on the roof of the palace and began to search for ventilation outlets. Despite all the magic, no one became involved in the internal filtration and air regeneration system, so ventilation was soon discovered. With an inconspicuous stream, I leaked through all kinds of alarms and protection. I did not encounter any special problems on this path, because local magicians were engaged in such insignificant works, which could hardly counterpose the power of the civilization of spiders.

The search for the king did not take much time, because I still clearly felt his presence. Hope he can't feel me the same way. And then my spyware penetration will look quite ridiculous. Propelling through the air ducts, I got to the room I needed and carefully looked out from behind the ventilation grille.

Arctic fox! This is all that occurred to me when I saw this king. He should be called not godlike, but god equal. By the amount of power emanating from him, he could be compared to the Being and Judge. Well, at least in my innocent look. If I had two tails, then I could resist him ... a couple of seconds. And so I had no chance at all. I was in front of him like a mosquito - swat and he can kill me easily.

Now it is clear what this Judge is so insidiously laughing. If I can sacrifice these figures, he will become their master, throwing unsuspecting players so well. That's just to fill up such a mammoth, I need a bigger argument. Something like a megaton, and not a hundred megatons, as it were. In this case, it becomes obvious and the choice of my humble person to implement this scam. The local people clearly believe that magic is the pinnacle of power. So a thermonuclear blast will be an unpleasant surprise for them. Well, at least the first couple of times. So, I need a plan. Do you have a plan, Mr. Fix? Of course, I have a plan, Mr. Fix. For those who know me, my plan is completely obvious. Lithium deuteride is our everything.

I slowly crawled away from the grille, climbed onto the roof and took off, getting out of the palace of the righteous king in full steam. Only after flying a couple of hundred kilometers, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and begin to plan my actions. Actually, what is there to plan? Necessary: 1 - to create two dozen thermonuclear bombs with magic fuses; 2 - develop remotely controlled delivery vehicles; 3 - blow the fuck up; 4 - profit.

Point one was simple and clear to me. My body is a natural element separation factory. Moreover, the extraction of lithium deuteride is one of the physiological functions developed by me. There is even nothing to do. Magic fuse, working on the magic of spiders, I also calculated a long time. It will be enough a couple of experiments to make sure it works. After that, the creation of a thermonuclear bomb will be a tedious but simple process.

The second point of the plan raised questions, but not so much with the possibility of its implementation, as with the time it would have to spend on it. I knew the spell "remote camera", transmitting the image to the brain of the magician. Then it was necessary only to make artifact aircraft and attach a control system based on two-way information transfer to them. For those who fundamentally understand the structure of radio models, the solution to this problem is not a problem.

The explosion of targets does not seem to be a big problem either. As I have already planned, you can use a hybrid of an airplane and a rocket to deliver the charge. And you can lay it in advance near the place where the goal lives. If there is no developed air defense system, then the first option is preferable. Targeting rockets can be guided by my sense of the location of the figures. Here, of course, there is something to work on, but in the event of which there is always an option with the delivery of a charge just to the approximate area and an increase in the number of explosives. As they say, after us even the waterflood. I have a fool enough to evaporate the entire planet, as bequeathed to the Being. The main thing is to have time to claim back my tails from the Judge.

Having decided on the strategy, I flew back to the north, where I got to the sea and disappeared without a trace in its depths. After just a month, I was ready to act. While the body was floating in the depths of the world ocean, collecting deuterium, the mind designed UAVs powered by a cold fusion reactor, which was essentially a separate part of my body. After all, for me it is just a matter of physiology. Not for nothing, I loaded the computers of the station with similar tasks - that was useful. Finding targets based on information from my ability was also brought to mind. And the packing of the warhead in a metal shell and the crossing of this gift with the drone did take a couple of hours.

Based on the sound principle of "many - not enough", I created twenty charges, ranging from megatons to gigatons. The last option was intended personally to King Vandal. For a good man, nothing is a pity. A total of thirty-two game figures lived on the planet, including me. But I aimed at the strongest. In the end, then it will be possible to show the Judge that I cared about his well-being.

I was buried in the mountains on the northern islands in the Arctic Circle. Here from living creatures were only moss and penguins. The second ate the first in life, and the first second after their death. In general, this ecosystem amused me. And most importantly, both moss and penguins, with joy, tried to devour any stranger, which means it would be more difficult to get to me.

Finally, everything was ready, and I pressed the imaginary red button. A minute later I said:

“I sacrifice these figures to the Judge.”

At my expense it drove eighteen Justice Points. Well, not bad either. I wonder who it turned out to be so tenacious?

“I suggest the Game Judge to exchange ten Justice Points for my energy centers and the healing of spiritual wounds.”

As soon as I spoke these words, my consciousness began to perceive the "spiritual world", where the Judge was already waiting for me.

“I confirm the deal.” Indifferently said that. I did not even feel the least of his attention.

After this two energy centers approached me and took their rightful place. After that, Bakhion was literally pipetted on me, which was barely enough to somehow repair the damage.

“The transaction is completed.” The image of the judge disappeared, and I was again on the island among the penguins.

The following week I sat in a cave and quietly cursed the Judge, trying to make my tails work. If you make an analogy with the physiology, then tails sewn to me, but did not consider it necessary to restore the nerves in the spinal cord. As a result, my control over the energy produced was almost zero. If earlier I could control the chakra as a part of my body, now it was an alien substance that desperately resisted my will.

The only positive thing was that the pain that tormented me disappeared, although sometimes it returned in the form of short attacks. My hatred for the players and their games slowly matured, gradually driving my crazy. Or not. It's just that a part of my consciousness constantly, without interruptions and fatigue, pondered over how to annoy so much stronger than any complications, so that they would feel the eternal torments of hell on their skin.

At dawn on the eighth day, which in one place combined with sunset and noon due to the approaching polar night, I felt the aura of the Being that I already knew. At this time, it deigned to take a material appearance, still not very concrete - just a glowing spot. Yeah, that burning thorn bush. I will find out.

“And how do you do that? Only the fourth game, and you have already won the titles of the Most Bloody Butcher of a planetary and galactic scale. You are already becoming famous. Haha”

“So the bloodiest one?” I doubted.

“And who is here no further, how a week ago destroyed all life form on the planet?”

“How about penguins?”

“Look yourself.”

I walked out of the cave and made sure that all the penguins that were guarding my peace were safely dead.

“What is wrong with them?”

“Radiation. What are you surprised at?”

“But, I used the usual thermonuclear bombs. From them there should not be such.”

“Oh, you darkness.” Being down to educational program. "If you used a lead sheath, it would be a ‘clean’ thermonuclear bomb. And so you got a neutron bomb. And you blew up such twenty pieces, almost evenly distributing on the surface of the planet. As a result, those who did not die from the explosion itself, in wild torment, died three days later from neutron irradiation and secondary radiation.”

I looked at the serene clouds that were carried across the sky by the cold north wind.

“I wondered why body chemical composition jumps back and forth.”  Dazzled I. “This is simply neutron conversion of isotopes.” I categorically did not want to think about the "native" village of goblins.

“In general, it turned out well.” Begin to calm me down Being. “Such an epic happy ending happened. Eighteen strong pieces went to the Judge, and I got a reward for defeating thirteen players in the elite league. By the way, I almost forgot. Players rebelled and by a general vote forbade you to use thermonuclear weapons in non-cosmic worlds. Plus, the council of judges decided to take away your playing ability from you. More precisely, the points earned will remain with you, but you cannot earn new this way. Honestly, this your part-time job on the Judge upset me.” A herd of goosebumps ran across my back, although I did not plan such a physiological function for my body. “But he played you into the dark, and you had no special choice. For the sake of a piece of their soul, people ready do more worse things. But next time, at least warn me about such plans.”

“Sure.” I assured the Being, whose hard look literally almost smeared me on the ground.

“Agreed.” The pressure disappeared, and I again took the humanoid form. “In result, this game server was closed, the Judge was transferred to another department with a boost for resourcefulness, but all game figures were confiscated.” I could only grin inwardly. For full laughter, I had to personally pull out a couple of pieces from the soul of the Judge. “I have already told you about the decisions regarding you. Now for the sweet.”

“Award?” I was skeptical.

“Better! New game. This time in the world familiar to you. Once again, do not use thermonuclear bombs. This is not funny. Just threw a figure into the game, fucking, and that's it, game over. About such neither book not to write, nor film take, in general very boring. Yes, and rivals writing claims for evil cheaters. Bu-ga-ga-ga.”

“What are rules in this game?”

“Rules exist. But for you, knowing them not by the rules. However, I can give a tip: the goal of the game is to grow the most delicious Pokemon. Allright, let's go.”

And it's like I turned off.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Worm

I woke up, feeling that I was flying to somewhere. Before I had time to open my eyes, my body fell into ice water and began to sink. This is the beginning. I tried to use magic or chakra, but naturally I discovered that both types of energy do not obey me. Water flooded my throat, and lungs twisted with pain. I was drowning in the icy darkness, panting and losing consciousness. And then ... time seemed to stop.

I felt some kind of infinitely powerful Entity extending a tentacle of friendly help to me. It attached a part of herself to me and began to broadcast incomprehensible signals in the mental range. If I were not a specialist in telepathic communication, I would take only vague images from this message. But I was an expert, and therefore I could understand what this little animal is talking to me about in its Swahili.

I was offered to take patronage over the shard allocated to me and teach him some way of interacting with the material world. The main principle of influence was set at the very beginning at initiation. And the maximum impact force was limited only by my ability to control multidimensional phenomena.

Well, the control I have even with ass to eat. I also ruled with magic and chakra, and tied my soul with a knot, and Bahion drove through myself. So, as they say, give two. And better give ten at once.

The Entity blinked and increased the size of the sacrificed piece tenfold. I extended my mental tentacles to it and severely raped it, penetrating all the holes. So, what we got here? Yeah, initiation. Well, it's simple. I need to immediately escape from under the water. And it is also desirable to then receive at least some benefit from this force. So I take telekinesis and do not steam. The limits of maximum and minimum scale of exposure are limited by the level of control. The distance, by the level of total force of the shard. I think to name as “symbiont” is more suitable instead of “shard”.  And now we will try to figure out how much I can control this rubbish, not too much bothering myself with the process.

Grabbing control over the symbiote, I demanded more. And further. AND FURTHER! In general, at the end I reminded myself of a ghoul that attacked an elephant. Blood still gulp and gulp, but another sip - and I just tear to pieces. That's what greed brings. I swallowed and broke away from the free source of power. While the symbiont was just beginning to be developed with its separate existence, therefore, the strength and accuracy of the impact left much to be desired. But now I could use my new abilities to survive.

Time has returned its run, and I rushed up. The water above me was boiling and burst out in a high fountain. Following her, I flew. Turning upside down, I got rid of water in my lungs, cleared my throat, and gasped. After a minute, I realized that I was almost alive, and therefore I could look around.

I hung in the air next to the bridge crossing the river. The height here was not so big - five meters. The bridge itself had a steel truss structure and was painted red. The latter, however, was almost imperceptible, because it was night outside. It was also cold, wet and dirty. If the donor of my body thought to drown here, then he chose an extremely vile place to die.

I scanned through the memory for new memories, but I couldn't catch too much. Okay, then I'll figure it out. I leaked to the bridge and stood on the sidewalk. There were no cars visible, from the lighting there was only one lantern on the left side of the bridge. So where to go? I had to force a merger with the identity of the former carrier.

I was in the city of Brockton Bay, in its southern part. They called me ... uck! Being! My name was Bivitz Swine. Name to get nut. Not surprisingly, the boy decided to commit suicide. I was 15 years old. I lived alone in a one-room kennel near the docks. Mother was a prostitute, and therefore preferred to live at the place of work, in a brothel. Well, there were more cleaner, and do not need to make cook. I studied at the school of Winslow. I was a typical sucker and scapegoat. I was not addicted to drugs, because all my pocket money was taken away by my classmates, drug addicts. Perfect, even though I was lucky. In general, the life of this body was still shit.

Okay, with the past figured out. Now it's time to think about the future. Firstly should start by changing the name. I think Bon Jovi will be just right. Or not, better than Quentin Tarantino. But no, something Italian is better - Eros Ramazotti. For sure! My face looks like him. Resolved!

My further thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of a police car, which stopped right in front of me.

“Boy, what are you doing here?” A patrolman, looking out of the window, suspiciously asked me. “Decided to drown?”  He suggested, looking at my pitiful wet look.

“No ... this ... help.”

“What?” The policeman who has already opened a car door and is going to get out was guarded.

“This is Cape.” I thought hoarse.

In this world it was full of all sorts of freaks with supernormal abilities, which during the day pretended to be human, and at night they put on pants on their heads and worked all kinds of lewdness in the name of the moon. Or is it not from here? The memory of Bivitz mingled with my earthly memories, creating a temporary chaos in my brain.

“What are the Cape?”  In the voice of a policeman flashed notes of fright, and his foot went back to the car.

Instead of answering, I with telekinesis scooped up water from the river, lifted it from the back of the bridge behind the backs of the officers who had hatched me, and then poured unexpectedly dirty liquid directly onto the car.

“Get out of here!” shouted a cop. The tires of the car shrieked, and the car fell off, gathering a hundred in three seconds.

“Save! Help! Killing me!” I shouted followed, holding back laughing out loud.

The valiant guardians of the law last flashed the parking lights and disappeared around the corner. Yeah, servants of the law.

I looked at the memories, took to the air and flew home, looking for such unlikely reference points. Fifteen minutes later I got to my huts, undressed and got into the shower, warming myself up under hot jets of water. Relaxing in a familiar and unfamiliar setting, I was able to put my memories in order.

This world was familiar to me. On Earth, I read something about him. The problem was that it was not an original story, but some excerpts and retellings. In general, I knew about the whole story less than Bivits. He lives here since birth. So from the point of view of knowing the canon, I did not have any advantage.

Now for the game itself. From the description of the Being it becomes clear that I need to grow from my symbiont the most powerful and versatile creature. What's next is not entirely clear, but for now this is not critical. So it is worth doing my own efforts and developing them as much as I can. And in order not to be bored, I can become one of the caps.

By the way, the word cape itself had an interesting meaning. Initially, when people with supernatural abilities only appeared, they preferred to hide their identity behind long hooded cloaks. Hence the name "cape" - a cloak. But besides this, the given word was consonant with the word "cap", abbreviated from "captain" - the captain or, according to local classification, a hero. Heroes, of course, quickly divided into heroes and villains.

With my Russian origins, it was easier for me to call the caps as masks, especially since there was such a definition. When a whole crowd of people dissecting cloaks, the unique mask becomes the easiest way to show off and make a name for yourself.

As for my personal goals, there everything was difficult. I needed to regain control of magic and chakra. Also, it would be nice to return to life in the form of vritras. Here are just a couple of simple experiments showed that magic in this world does not work. More precisely, magic works as expected, but any way to organize its interaction with reality one way or another rests on an obstacle of an incomprehensible nature. However, I have a suspect - the very Entity that gave me a symbiote. Already its strength is enough to neutralize all attempts at magic emanating from aphids like me. A short contact of the consciousnesses made it clear that this animal is comparable in size to the planet. In general, while it is worth slowly dealing with the situation and planning next steps.

I got out of the bathroom and found that wet clothes, lying in the hallway, made a decent size there puddle. Consciousness was twitching behind a rag and a mop, but the body stubbornly stated that he was too lazy. It was necessary to turn on the brains, and after a couple of seconds, clothing and water were picked up by telekinesis. The water went into the toilet, and lightly pressed clothes into the washing machine. I went to sleep. The morning is wiser than the evening.

In the morning I was awakened by the sound of an alarm clock indicating that it was time for me to go to school. I had decided to score, but after ten minutes my mother called and in the ultimatum form reminded that without visiting the school pocket money is not necessary for me. In order not to arouse suspicion, I had to go to this abode of knowledge. Moreover, the lessons did not prevent me from thinking about my own problems, and besides, the school had free Internet, in which someone was wrong, that urgently needed to be fixed. In other words, I was going to hang up on the masks forums.

I did not consider myself Bivits, and therefore I forget the rules of behavior and movement in school that he had adopted. This is not slow to affect. At recess after the third lesson, when I was returning from a hike to the cafeteria, I was suddenly grabbed by a throat and dragged into a small nook, for some unknown reason, the builders had planned. This place was considered as "bandit corner", and therefore the people tried not to walk here. Some, so as not to fall under the distribution, and the second, so as not to interfere with distributing to others. In addition, the school management completely ignored the fact that the surveillance camera in this corridor was not working for the third year. So the events in this corner were forever a dirty secret of those who managed to get here.

“Bivits, you are bitch spend my money in a cafe? ..”

The unexpected racketeer could not continue, because with telekinesis I accelerated my fist and slammed him into the relaxed drug addict stomach. The body of the unlucky extortionist twisted like a shrimp, and I stepped over it and went on. The memory told me that this is Kevin - one of the instigators of the local gangsters. It was he, who delivered the most problems to the previous owner of my body.

The lesson went as usual, and then the school crept rumors.

“Did you hear that? Someone killed Kevin.” Stephen whispered to me. He could not be called my friend, but at least he did not refuse to communicate on different topics.

“Kevin? That freak from eighth B?” I clarified, remembering, whether I have got somewhere on a camera.

“Exactly. Someone overheard a doctor talking about his body being examined. He was hit in the stomach with such force that he broke his spine.”

Hease! Am I that strong? However, at that time I was least thinking about limiting the force of impact. On the contrary, I wanted to punch so that it came once and for all. I guess I did. As they say, there is no man - no problem. And my conscience does not rot, because to call this geek a man is to flatter him very much.

“Yes, he was a drug addict.” I waved away. “Surely the dose with someone not shared. And relative to the spine. If he had been hit with such force, then the whole corridor would have been splashed with guts. By the way, did you go see what happened there?”

“Not yet. Let's go see?”

“Come on.”

I returned to the crime scene and looked at him from behind the curious schoolchildren. The corpse was already covered with a sheet, the passage to the crime scene was blocked with yellow tape. Nearby stood a pair of policemen, driving away annoying schoolchildren.

“There is no blood.” I issued my expert opinion. “So all this is bullshit. I bet for ten bucks that he died from an overdose.”

“He was a drug addict?” Suddenly asked a man in uniform who was behind my shoulder. Judging by his appearance and the suitcase in his hands, it was the investigator.

“This is Winslow.” I replied, passing forward. “Here one half of the students are heroin addicts, and the second is just smoke drug that as necessary from time to time. Only I am normal here.”

A joking blow from Stephen flew to my side.

"Hey, I'm normal too."

“It is still necessary to prove. Go here. There is nothing interesting here. I can look at the blind man's buffs on TV. Or find pictures in the internet. Saw what a hangman looks like?”

So quarreling, we returned to the classroom. The bell rang, and the curious began to disperse, allowing the investigator to do his job. To my surprise, no one conducted a special investigation into the death. At least I have not heard a single word about someone being interrogated in connection with this event.

After serving the eighth lesson, I walked home with a cautious look. And again ignored the Bivitz ritual for the safe evacuation of the school. Moreover, I brazenly pushed the crowd of schoolchildren standing in my way. A heavy hand immediately fell on my shoulders, and someone's smelly mouth began to whisper in my ear with the voice of a professional pedophile.

“It's Swine. Well, say: oink oink.”

“Looking for relatives?” I clarified, trying to throw off his hand. “No, I'm not one of them.”

“What did you say? Come on. Guys, we need to teach this nerd good manners.”

I was literally picked up by the arms and dragged to the nearest alley, carefully covering from all sides from the cameras and bystanders. I did not resist, because the quiet, deserted place was exactly what I needed. A couple of dozen guys formed a good crowd. I was surrounded by the tallest of them, so I only saw their sweaty backs and the sky overhead.

Ten minutes later, we finally stopped, and the crowd dispersed, giving me the opportunity to look around. It was a narrow alley between two brick walls without windows. On the one hand, a dusty road was visible, covered with scraps of grass, and on the other hand, it was either a dead end, or a turn, littered with garbage. Nearby was the drainage grate, in which water was clearly murmuring. The ideal place to waste someone, and then hide the ends in the water.

I did not become like a heroes of third-rate fighters, and therefore I missed the stages of intimidation and showdown, immediately turning to the bloody orgy. With telekinesis, I grabbed all those present and squeezed them so that there was no opportunity to shout. After all, in order to shout, you must first get air into the lungs. The gangsters were wheezing and rolling their eyes in horror, and I was wondering what I should do with them.

The example of King Vandal, who established a golden age in his kingdom, inspired me to follow in his footsteps. I live in this city. Therefore, it is worth clearing it from any marginalized, proletarians, lumpen and illuminati. And it is worth starting from the school of Winslow - a hotbed of drug addiction and racism. The individuals gathered in front of me were the "best" representatives of these social groups. More specifically, it was a gang of nationalists under the patronage of the Empire of Eighty Eight.

The fate of these scums of human society was decided at the moment when they attacked me. Bivits saw more than once how this gang snapped of individual "lucky ones", and then those at best remained disabled. And often completely disappeared into nowhere. Now these animals were waiting for righteous reward.

After a couple of seconds, I figured out how to crank up this operation. Having seized one of the bodies with telekinesis more feasibly, I began to crush and rotate him from feet, turning him into stuffing and right there sending waste to the sewer. The victim tried to scream, but quickly gave up on these attempts, because the area of fragmentation reached the lungs. After five seconds, no trace of the person was left. Only a few bills, taken out of pockets, hung in the air. They no longer need money, but I need compensation for the moral trauma that I am getting right now by killing people. The work of the nightman is vital for any society. If you do not remove the shit, then in the end it will cover you up your head.

The execution ended in five minutes. Not a drop of blood fell on the ground, and I covered the traces in the dust with telekinesis. As a reward for my work, I received almost a thousand dollars. As they say, ten old women - the ruble.

Whistling happily, I reached the far end of the alley and made sure that it was not completely a dead end. A passage on the side was blocked by a fence with barbed wire over the top. Having flown through it, I found myself in another abandoned alley with boarded up windows. Carefully looking around, I flew over the roof of the building, being on another deserted street. Then I went down to the ground and calmly went forward. There were no cameras in the area, so I didn't worry about my alibi. This place was familiar to me, and several times Bivits made his way here when he was hiding from gangsters on the way home. So my excuse is iron.

Wandering through the streets of the city, I think how I should live on. Obviously, the roof was torn off completely and definitively. I have just literally killed more than twenty people with my own hands, and I don't worry about it at all. And what are twenty imbeciles compared to the whole planet?

In general, I had a direct path to the masks to do good and cause justice, without worrying about the consequences. The local people thought it out well - you took off the suit, and you are a different person. And if someone tries to tie two of your personalities into one, then aa-ya-ya for him and a-ta-ta. True, there are rumors that a particularly bloody butchers are being hunted without restrictions, only the same Slaughterhouse travels around America for years. And something no one not willing to kill Crawler or Siberia. That is, in the end, everything comes down to personal strength. And I have a huge potential for the development of symbiont. It seems to me that at the peak of power this animal can completely destroy the whole Earth in one blow.

Reflecting on such matters, I noticed a store selling matter of another kind — ordinary fabrics. Since I decided to become a mask, I need a costume. And for its manufacture materials are needed. You can go in and see what's what, for the good of money I now have enough.

In the store, I liked the roll of coal-black fabric. She was thin, strong and with a very low albedo. Ideal to hide in the dark. Or to terrify mystical views. I bought eight square meters of fabric, explaining to the seller the desire to make curtains against the sunlight.

After returning home, I began to sew myself a suit, but rather quickly found out that the tailor was none from me. Even telekinesis did not help. In the end, after getting busy until midnight, I spat on everything and went to sleep.

The next day was Saturday, so I decided to take a rest on my legal day off. To begin with, I slept until lunchtime, then I went to the slot machine hall, where I divided a dozen crabs in Mortal Kombat, and in the late afternoon I went shopping. In one of the institutions I managed to buy a long dark cloak with a hood. It seemed to be specially made for beginners who appreciate the classics. I even checked his telekinesis on bugs, but did not notice anything suspicious.

At home I was overwhelmed with laziness, so I left the tailoring on Sunday. The next day, I spent eight hours stitching a set of long triangular pieces of fabric hanging loosely at one end to the cloak. The result was a black "mysterious cloak" that could mysteriously fly in the air, controlled by my mysterious telekinesis. Twisting "rags" were supposed to hide the figure and add mystery. I could also figure out a black mask on my face. Alas, it was not very comfortable, so I had to hold it telekinesis in order not to slip when moving my head.

Having dressed in all this rags, I stood in front of the mirror, and saw not the mysterious hero, but the garden scarecrow, who had escaped from the nearest madhouse. Something is missing here. I made several "heroic" movements and came to an unequivocal conclusion - I need a secret. People love everything mysterious, so that the cover of secrecy will be able to hide all the minor flaws of a suit from the eyes of the spectators. And the best secret cover is the cover of darkness.

When I spoke with the Being, I realized that the ability of the symbiont can be developed. Especially at the very beginning, when they have not yet been completely formed. So I still had a good chance to get exactly what I needed. For a spectacular appearance and disappearance, I need some kind of cover of darkness. And in this city there is already a mask with similar abilities - Grue. If I find him and watch how he does it, I can repeat the same thing with my symbiote. After it my symbiote will learn to repeat the desired trick.

I looked out the window and made sure that the night would soon come into its own. The chances are small, of course, but do you need to start somewhere? It is worth running through the city and look for this gloom. According to rumors from the forum, he is the leader of a gang at the docks. So it is worth starting from there, especially since the docks started two blocks from my house.

Close to midnight, pulling on a suit, I switch off the light in the apartment and slipped out through the window. There was such a deaf area so that it was possible not to fear casual witnesses. Almost a third of the apartments were inhabited, and most of the locals were drinking in a black way and could hardly see anything further than their nose. Moreover, I "felt" the surroundings with telekinesis and did not notice a single suspicious witness.

Flying over the roofs of abandoned houses, I tried to understand how you can I find a black cat in a dark room. The darkness was such that I could easily have pierced my forehead into some building without simply noticing it. I had an alternative way of perceiving the world - through telekinesis. Any thing trying to move it offers resistance. This return can be used to detect matter. The problem was that this way of perceiving information was extremely unusual, and therefore the brain could hardly figure out what it feels. At a distance of five meters of problems did not arise. But when trying to "feel" the space at a greater distance, there were all sorts of failures and glitches.

I don't know what I wanted to find at all, but my attention was attracted by the red flashes of fire a few blocks away. I climbed higher and flew in that direction, scanning the surroundings for surprises in one. When I reached the place where the fireworks were held, I found a two-meter-high man covered in flames, who diligently fought off the invisible green devils, who gazed at him during the delirium tremens. At least I did not notice any other opponents in the district. Do not take for them some narrow-eyed, at full speed escape from the scene.

A potential second participant of this circus number showed up on the roof of a nearby building. It was a figure in a black tight-fitting suit, lying on the parapet. Only she moved, apparently intending to slip away quietly, like a fiery man heard a noise upstairs and made a couple of unrealistic jumps on the wall of the house on the opposite side of the street, and then on the roof, in a matter of seconds being near the diversionist.

I flew even closer and hid behind the edge of the building, hanging a meter from the place where the wall ended. From a close distance, I was able to determine that the man was clearly Asian and partly covered with scales. And the figure in the suit was an ungainly girl, who was now frantically trying to get some kind of spray from the back pocket.

After spending a second to think, I identified Lung in the man - the head of the ABB - the local mafia group. He looked at his enemy, in a panic crawling backwards, and angrily grinned.

“My your chop-chop head. In ass fuck so cook you get out from your mouth.” - Issued this animal in broken English. I think he want to say ‘I will cut your head and fuck you in ass that my cock will stick out from your mouth’

Suddenly, a silhouette flashed on the next roof, and I found there four observers accompanied by three huge animals. Judging by the information from the forum, these creatures are the pets of Bitch. So, I stumbled upon those whom I was looking for - a gang of Undersiders, including the Grue. And since the viewers appeared here, why not portray a small performance. As they say, our whole life is a circus, and the people in it are clowns. I concentrated on controlling telekinesis, trying to merge with the wall myself.

The girl was finally able to stand up on her feet, and it was precisely this moment that Lung chose to jerk forward and strike her fist in the head. I tried to stop this blow by telekinesis, but was surprised to find that an alien body was actively resisting my intervention. There was little time to think about this fact, and therefore I "grabbed" the heroine’s costume and pulled it so that it might seem from the side that she had gracefully dodged it. At first, the puppet control was ragged, but soon I got the hang of properly "pulling the strings" without risking to break my toy.

I took the next few blows on the block, and then grabbed Lung by the neck and hypochondrium and threw him on the roof with a sweep. The pebble covering it shattered shrapnel, and Lung growled in annoyance. While he was getting to his feet, shaking his head, I got a few seconds to deal with my symbiote. I was absolutely not satisfied with his refusal to influence living beings.

It was a failure, not an impossibility. I climbed into symbiont’s mind and found there a kind of installation, affirming the right of every living creature to personal space. Having mentally swearing, I telepathized to my source of supernormal abilities.

Listen here, stupid thing. In this world, the most important law sounds like this: devour another, or they will devour you. Regarding those whom I define as an enemy, no rules or restrictions should apply. So tie with your philosophy of universal love and do what I say .”

The symbiote did not have own will to resist my suggestion. So he dutifully carried out my order, giving full control over the force.

The figure in the suit swayed her right hand, and Lung flew into the air, suddenly losing support under her feet. He puffed, kicked, but could not move a millimeter. The second hand of my puppet stretched forward, stretched out her index finger, and then turned the fist. At the same moment Lung's right hand broke in the shoulder, crunching distinctly. A fierce scream swept through the neighborhood, and the flames around the Lung flared with new force. His body began to grow right before my eyes, overgrown with large scales.

Another gesture, and the other hand broke, this time in two places at once. The cry turned into a roar, and the speed of Lung's transformation increased. Then my toy waved her hands theatrically for several minutes, and with each of her movements, something very bad happened to Lung. By the end of the performance, he looked like a piece of screaming meat bleeding with fire and blood.

And then, when I already wanted to make the final touch, tearing Lung in half along the spine, a human figure in mechanical armor landed noisily on the roof. By suit and halberd, I identified this hero of the Armsmaster. He put forward his weapon and loudly demanded:

“Let him go!”

I stopped the execution and gave a little more freedom to the girl's body.

“I can’t. It's stronger than me!’

Ah ha ha ha ha! How I love these meaningful phrases. Immediately there is an impression that it is not a puppet in front of you, but a psycho following the instructions of the "inner voice".

“Stop, or I will compel to use force.”

The last time I broke a couple of bones in Lung's body and threw it on the roof. Pinching of the spine caused a painful shock, and the Lung lost consciousness, immediately ceasing to glow. Only rare sparks ran through his mutilated body.

“He forced me to do it.” Once again tried to justify the sacrifice of my black humor.

The Armsmaster again understood this phrase in the wrong way.

“Listen, you almost killed a man. I understand that you defended yourself, but this is a crime. So you have two options: either you stay here, and I arrest you, or you leave and leave Lung to me, and I will pretend that you were not here.”

The puppet tried to say something, but I took control over her. The girl nodded silently, turned and ran away. From the edge of the roof she leaped down, after which she planned a hundred meters to the side, for one she turned into the nearest alley. I left one broken toy on the roof and followed a much more amusing second. As soon as she was on the ground, I took off my control and remained to watch, hiding behind the roof of a neighboring building.

The place for the landing of figure, I chose not by chance. It was in this lane that the team of the Undersiders was now, fading from the scene when the Armsmaster approached. Now they met with the figure that interested them. The dogs took a couple of steps forward and snarled. Immediately, an angry cry was heard, and two figures emerged from the animals — a tall athletic build a man and a miniature girl — Grue and some kind of unknown to me villain.

“Hello. Cool you dealt with Lung.” The man started the conversation. His black suit and skull-shaped motorcycle helmet did not fit in a cheerful voice.

“It's not me.” Replied the puppet, covering themselves with their hands. Judging by her movements, my performance turned out to be a great stretching exercise for her.

“Her power is insect control.” In a slightly distant voice, a girl in a purple suit announced.

“Who then kneaded Lung like dough? That you waved hands there.”

“It's not me!”  Almost shouted objected puppet. “I was controlled.”

“Master?” Surprised Grue.

“Remote control. Puppet. He used her to mislead us. Strong telekinetic. Now watching us.”

After the last phrase, all those present tensed and began to look around. I, too, somewhat tensed. For about five minutes now insects, which I unknowingly push off telekinesis, were hobbling around me. And now strange attempts to touch me at the level of multidimensional space have been added to this melting. It seems that this is the power of this girl.

I tried to push off the annoying telepathic tentacles with my telekinetic tentacles. As soon as I hit the hands, the girl moaned shortly and clutched at her head. Yeah! Do not like. Do not stretch your arms, or will stretch your legs.

“I am Grue, and this is Tattletale.” Introduced the guy. “The Bitch and Regent are standing behind us. And what is your name?”

“I ... I haven't thought of it yet.” Replied the puppet. “This is my first day in a mask costume.”

“Then you should be called Bug.” Grinned Tattletale.

“No.” Rejected the offer Bug. “I do not like this name.”

“Cockroach? Ant? Queen of Hell Bees? Hive? Queen of Roy? Overmind Zerg?” Began to offer options a lover of fucking people in the brain.

“No. Enough! I will choose my own name. And who are the zerg?”

“We can discuss this in a relaxed atmosphere. Do you want to go with us? We have a great team. “ Started recruiting the villain.

“No. I ... I'm tired and want to go home.” I almost cried Queen of Roy.

“Sorry. In fact, we are looking for new people for our team. We have good conditions, excellent salary and all that. So if you decide, you can call us. Here, take a business card.”

Tattletale held out a small card. The distance between the two girls was more than three meters, so one of them had to take a step forward. Apparently, villain wanted to force the Zerg Overmind to meet her. First, literally, and then in the figurative. But Cockroach froze in a stupor, still not recovering from the dances on the roof.

I decided to force a little the course of events, and in one thing to provoke Grue into using abilities. With telekinesis picked up business card from the hands of Tattletale and brought it to the face of the Queen of Hell Bees.

“Take card, fool.” I squeaked, trying to create voice by telekinesis. This was my first attempt, so the speech was a combination of some creaking, grinding and hissing. But this effect caused exactly the same as I expected. Puppet grabbed a piece of paper, and then turned around and rushed away at full speed.

“Did you hear that?” Scaredly asked Grue.

“Yes.” Slowly answered Tattletale. Her mental tentacles again tried to grope me, but I gently pulled them aside.

At the same time, I began to make strange and frightening sounds, like laughter, gnash and howls. The wind rose in a narrow alley, which began to drive on the ground pieces of paper and all kinds of garbage. The atmosphere began to resemble a horror movie before the start of a particularly bloody scene. First, the Bitch’s nerves could not bear it.

“What the hell is going on here?” She whistled, and her three dogs snarled threateningly, looking around and sniffing around. I pulled the fire escape leading to the roof, and the disgusting screech of torn metal rang down the alley.

“Run!” Finally woke up the Grue.

The team jumped on nervous dogs and rushed away. A wild scream rang out at the far end of the alley and began to catch up with them, increasing the volume and aggressive notes. Grue could not bear it and activated his ability. Black fog flooded the whole street, splashed onto the surrounding houses and pulled its tentacles up to the sky, as if intending to devour the moon peeking out from behind the clouds.

I raced behind like Wild Hunt with an invisible shadow, accompanying it with sounds from cheap horror films and at the same time exploring the abomination's abilities. Finally, after a couple of minutes, I was able to understand the essence of this phenomenon, and at the next turn, the Undersiders could "break away" from the pursuit. I once again internally laughed maniacally, then flew home, to deal with all of today's acquisitions.

At home I was again attacked by laziness, so the debriefing was postponed until tomorrow. In the morning, I blatantly ignored the sound of the alarm and woke up a couple of hours later than usual. After that, breakfast was held, during which I began to test my new abilities. Yesterday was not lived in vain.

First, I was able to reproduce the darkness of Grue. But, on a limited scale. If the leader of the Undersiders could cover several hundred meters with his ability, then I could hardly cover myself. However, I did not need more yet. But when the symbiote grows up, my ability to cause black fog can exceed the possibilities of Grue.

My second acquisition was Pyrokinesis, which I brazenly stole from Lung. In general, this ability was a combination of the other two. The appearance of the flame was created by the usual optical illusion — something like a glowing mist. But only objects that fell into the illusion of flame began to burn. And here the "honest" Pyrokinesis was already functioning, heating the external surface of the objects, thereby emulating interaction with open fire. I could manage these abilities independently. With the power of their manifestation, too, was trouble. The most I could count on was to create a small fireball in my hand. I had only to throw him, and it immediately crumbled innocent sparks. However, there was room for experimentation and training.

The third profit was my understanding of the principles of the effect of symbionts on reality, as a result of which I could counteract a similar effect in the range of my telekinetic tentacles. Yesterday I was able to block Tattletale in this way, and she could not find out anything more about me, which she complained to the satellites during the chase. Also, I understood a little how to receive information about the object, about the same way as Tattletale herself did, but here my successes were quite modest. I could notice them, but the practical benefits of the speech have not yet come.

Having tested my new features, I could not resist and put on my coat. As soon as I surrounded him with a thin layer of darkness, I turned from a simple rag into the mystical attire of a Chaos messenger. I tried to still draw myself luminous eyes with the help of an illusion, but then a bummer came out. I could see freely through the darkness, but the illusion on my eyes gave a glare, impairing visibility. I had to abandon the demonic eyes and simply portray the "mysterious signs" on the face. Then pick up the most spectacular option.

When taking off my suit, for one thing I thought about the name for this image. In order to fail, as with this Cockroach, I need to think of it in advance. And since I am the "Messenger of Chaos", then I can call myself as Nyrlatotep. In the original source, this name was close to Egyptian. They-hotep, Ptah-hotep, Nyarlat-hotep. But then he was altered to modern pronunciation, making Nyarlatotep, and then completely lowered to the level of nyashka, removing the soft sign. Nya-nya-nyrlatotep! Bow in front of the kawai cats, nya! Hmmm, I'll need to think about my image.

Having gathered, I left the house, but went not to school, but to the city administration. Since we are talking about choosing a name, it is worth changing for one and my official name. Being a Bivitz Swine doesn't prick me. The administration first tried to kick me off, but a bribe of a hundred dollars turned the ugly bureaucrat into a complacent public servant. As a result, I became the owner of a complete list of documents that I needed to fill out and submit in order to change my name.

Since I was a underage, a notarized statement from my parents, that is, from my mother, appeared among these documents. And they also hinted to me completely free of charge that since I had only a couple of months left until the age of sixteen, for a small fee I can immediately issue a passport with my new name. I solemnly assured the corrupt official that I would have enough money for bribes, after which I left this abode of law and order.

I had nothing further to do, so I decided to visit the school. Moreover, the IT lesson was to begin soon, during which you could sit on the Internet.

For the sake of improving performance, the computer science teacher made a cunning knight's move. At the beginning of the lesson, to each was given a personal task. Those who completed it and handed it over to the teacher permitted Internet access. And for those who did not pass, only the school website was available, on which there was nothing but the rules of behavior at school and photos of teachers. As a result, despite the complete absence of any lectures and explanations from the teacher, the students diligently engaged in self-education, and even among the most stupid drug addicts, the grades did not drop below three. Yes, and attendance at his lessons was the highest in school.

When I got to Winslow, I found that the whole school was buzzing. The disappearance of two dozen students did not go unnoticed. More precisely, just a couple realized it, and when they began to search for them by acquaintances, it turned out that there were no acquaintances anywhere either. For a couple of days, the business escalated to the city level, so now there were several police officers at the school who tried to understand which student disappeared without a trace, checking the attendance of students.

The director was so frightened by the incident that my appearance only in the fourth lesson caused her only relief from reducing the firing list. I did not even scold. Only compared the face of my face with a photo from a personal matter and sent out of sight.

I stated just in time for the beginning of the computer science lesson, so by quickly completing the assignment, I was able to draw information from two "reliable" sources at once — the Internet and the rumors that my classmates were in a hurry to share. After all, I so well "knew nothing" about the mysterious disappearance, and I urgently needed to be used as a recipient for an incoherent flow of thoughts, which they could not wait to splash out.

I was interested in all these versions in terms of disclosing my involvement. But then everything went perfectly. The place of the rogues from the Empire was known to all, so that the extra people did not go there. And if someone walked, then he was not extra, and to look at him point-blank was skimpy with the consequences. Themselves gangsters in general did not consider as people pupils like me, and therefore looked like an empty place, not putting aside a single bit of memories in their brain.

The most popular version was that Lung was behind the massacre. His army narrow-eyed under the name of the ABB has always been on knives with the Nazis. So it was quite easy to assume that the gang of the Empire from Winslow gathered on the arrow with the Chinese, where they were all put. Particularly stood out the fact that Lung did not stop at this, having arranged disassembly at the docks on Sunday, where the fire from the Armsmaster was arrested.

The most notorious optimists argued that the Protectorate is now extracting out from Lung the place where he holds schoolchildren. And pessimists rightly pointed out that the Imperials had already eaten by fish in the bay for a long time ago. I slightly supported one side, then agreed with the second and finally expressed the original idea that it could be a banal drug poisoning. I argued that Kevin took the dose first and dropped the hoof at school. And the rest decided to prick in a secluded place, where they still lie.

My version found unexpectedly many supporters. Some lovers of conspiracy theories on the forum even complained that it is impossible to kill the hope of a miracle in people like this so ruthlessly. The type of death in a battle with Lung looks much more heroic than stoning with a new drug and dying in shit and vomit in a godsend-forgotten sewer. In general, it was possible to say that my visit to the school was not in vain.

In the evening I went to the gaming center with my friends, where I again put everyone in doggy style position, having approved my superiority in Mortal Kombat. The body itself remembered all the tricks and wiles through which I butchered those who dared to challenge me.

When I reached the house, I took a nap, and at eleven in the evening I put on a suit and went to work. To implement my plans, I needed money. In addition, I was going to clean up the city from all sorts of degenerates. It was quite logical to combine these two goals and start a sweep with drug dealers as the richest.

I flew over the night city and watched the people below. For one thing, I coached remote eavesdropping using telekinesis. The idea was simple. I created near the sound source an invisible "pancake" where telekinesis held air molecules. The sounds waves trying to move these molecules, which I felt as resistance to my effects. And then the symbiont was entrusted with signal processing, receiving a clear sound at the output, transmitted to me directly into consciousness.

In one of the lanes, I came across three men, clearly discussing the sale of drugs. Telekinetic feeling revealed the presence of a large bag of powder in the pocket of one of them. So either these guys are lovers of powdered sugar disguised as drug dealers, or vice versa.

Descending from heaven, I lit a drawing on my face resembling Darth Maul's tattoos, after which I walked towards my victims with a light step.

“Who the fuck are you?” They gave me the expected question as soon as one of the three noticed my approach.

“I am horror, crawling in the darkness! My name is Nyrlatotep.” I decided to start to train in a glorious appearance.

“Nya ... hrla ... hry?”  Tried to repeat one of them.

Mda ... It seems that the locals will not understand me with that name. They will distort so that then the whole world will laugh.

“I am horror, flying on the wings of the night, I am the Black Cloak!”

“Aaaa ! This is a cape!” Realized the least stoned of them. “Run.”

Violators of my laws attempted to escape, for which they were sentenced to immediate death. I picked them up telekinesis, freed from all the cash, of which it turned out a lot, and then tore into pieces and laid out in the alley, the artistic composition " Werewolf feast at full moon " After that, I again soared into the sky, thinking about the frailty of the universe.

It does not seem me to be Nyrlatotep. Local drug addicts are just not able to pronounce. But the Black Cloak, brazenly stolen by me from the cartoon of the same name, was a completely obvious name. There even the word cloak (cape) was present, so that even to the most stupid, it became clear that they were dealing with a cape, that is, with a mask. And most importantly, despite the presence of this cartoon in this world, I will not be accused of plagiarism, because in the original it is called Darkwing Duck, that is, the Black-winged Duck.

The next hour I scoured the docks, and my efforts were rewarded. This part of the city was considered the territory of Merchants, and I was lucky to find one of their refuges. Frankly speaking, it was just an abandoned workshop, where a dozen homeless people found shelter. Now they were sitting, drinking and arguing loudly how to punish one of the smaller dealers for delaying money. From these sounds, I found them.

To begin with, I carefully studied the premises, searched each of those present for weapons and found three caches of money and goods. After this, my appearance to the people took place.

"I am horror, flying on the wings of the night."  My mysterious voice, immediately interrupted the debate of the parties.  "I am a cockroach in your heroine. I am a morning hangover when you have no money even to beer. I am the Black Cloak!"

With these words, the sphere of darkness exploded over a tall machine, and from them a mysterious and terrible figure in a black cloak appeared. The alien's face was hidden by the darkness, but the glowing tattoos on him created the image of an infernal demon. In general, six out of ten eyewitnesses of my epic appearance froze with their mouth open, three began to rub their eyes, and one did not know how to appreciate high art.

"Hey, black, get out of here, nigga. This place is only for whites."

In response, I raised the insolent over the floor, and then dissolved him to bloody stripes, which formed a beautiful rosette on the floor, on which the skeleton fell without flesh.

This movement became a trigger which awakened in the people, or rather nonhumans, the instinct of self-preservation. They shouted and ran away, but after a second they found themselves hanging in the air and can only jerk with their legs and arms. Well, they can also yell at the best of their abilities..

"So, before I kill you, it's worth explaining why I'm doing this." - Four drug dealers shook their heads and began to denounce, obviously having in mind that they did not need extra knowledge. - "Starting today, this city belongs to me. Therefore, my laws are valid in it. In particular, for the drug trade relies the death penalty. So you're all going to die."

"No. No! Do not kill us, Nigga."

"It seems that someone has a hearing problem."  I thoughtfully stated. "My name is Black Cloak! And to make you hear better, I should clean your ears."

The deaf-afflicted shouted loudly, and then from his ears struck a whole fountain of blood and brains. At this moment homeless people realised it for real. I even had to telekinesis adjust the airflow, so as not to inhale the resulting amber. The almost headless corpse flew down, and I continued my lecture.

"As I have already said, a penalty is imposed for drug trafficking. But today I have an advertising campaign, so you still have a chance to stay alive."

"And what are you advertising, dear Black Cloak?"  Culturally asked one of the bums of the most swine species. Immediately visible intellectuality.

"Of course, I advertise myself, cudgel. I am the horror creeping in the darkness. I - retribution, flying on the wings of the night. I am the Black Cloak!"

"You are very good at it." Noticed the intellectual.

"Thanks. So,"  I once again looked at the attentive audience with my eyes,  "I will let live someone who can provide me with useful information. I note right away, I already know about your hidden caches in this building".  In confirmation of my words there was a crash, and money and drugs flew out of the caches. I immediately scattered the last ones, mixing them with bloody porridge on the floor.  "Who will be the first?"

"We will never tell you anything, fucking nige-ghrrr … "- The racist grunted, losing air in his strangled lungs. He flew to the center of the hall, standing right in front of me, and the rest were distributed in a round line, looking at the next victim.

"It was ... Wrong choice."

The victim jerked, and then scattered to the right bloody cubes, in which bones and guts looked through. Someone began to puke. The cubes circled in the air, then fell down.

"I will tell!" Called the intellectual looking bum. He immediately flew forward, flowing on the spot where his comrade was a couple of seconds ago. "I know where is another place for gatherings of our gang. There should be more people and drugs."

"Not bad, not bad. Speak"

"It's east of here. Large yellow warehouse building. To the north of it such large round barrels for oil, and from the east in a couple of hundred meters the railway passes.. And there is a dilapidated red brick building nearby. In the warehouse will be more than thirty people and a cache of goods."

"Well, I'll check. If you lied, then I will find you, and the death of your comrades will seem to you as paradise. After all, people can die long, very long..”

I let go the intelligent bum, and he collapsed right in the bloody heap formed by the giblets of his comrades. He lay for a second, coming to himself, and then started with a sprint speed, running away with loud cries.

"Who is next?"

"I am! I will tell." Called the most courageous, immediately taking the place of the speaker. "I know where our boss's cache. You killed him first. But only I know the building. Do not kill me.”

"Good. Together we will visit said place, and if I find a cache, I will let you go."  Homeless flew off to the side, doomed sag. "So? Here you are, your turn."

"I ... I don't know. We trade in drugs. We have a couple dozen dealers. One so heavy, walks …"

"Not interested." I interrupted him. "I give five seconds."

"Well ... I ... this. No, I want to live! I am not guilty. These are all! They made me."

"Time is over." Another bloody penalty again scared the rest of the duck. I looked at the four remaining, looking at me with horror in their eyes. "It seems that you will not say anything interesting." I summarized.

"I know! I can tell you about our capes." - Decided one of them.

"I can do that too."

"Quiet. Who was the first, and the word is given." The lucky one flew forward, and his competitor's chest squeezed so that they could breathe barely. "So?"

"In our gang there is a Skidmark, Squealer and Moist. And also seems to be Trainwreck, but he is more likely on his own, although he lives on our territory. The Skidmark can disperse objects, push people away and all that. He lives somewhere in the north of the docks, but I don't know the exact place. Often sleeps on our bases. Squealer - techie. She usually makes cars, cannons and cars with guns. Lives in the same place, where the Skidmark, but gets out from there where less often. Moist that kind of generally incomprehensible type. Can manage garbage. Basically, rummaging through dumps, lives where he wish. And by the way, today he may be on the base, about which you have already been told.”

"Mmmm ... Fine. You can go.”

The homeless started running off, barely touching the ground. Yes, he even went through the air with his feet, just to be as far as possible away from me.

"And you are not lucky. You thought too much." I turned to the three remaining.

"No, stop! I have three hundred bucks …"

I did not listen to their cries, and tore them into pieces, which I scattered all over the room. Such creatures have no place on Earth. And they themselves live like animals, and they also poison people around them, eventually turning them into similar ones. Cancer of society in its purest form.

"So where do you say this cache?" - I turned to the last member of the gang, which is a nasty spectacle. He pissed, full of vomit - I didn't even want to look at him.

Then we proceeded to the said place, where I had to shake up a couple of buildings. But on the other hand, in the neighboring house, I could find a suitcase packed with money from that one. Apparently, the former boss dreamed about a pile of money, because his suitcase contained mostly one or two dollar bills. Occasionally there were fives and tens. I confiscated the proceeds, and let the homeless man go, once again reminding him that the drug trade in my city is the shortest road to Hell.

Having hidden money at home, I went to look for the second base of Merchants. Complicated the search the fact that there was night around, and even despite the narrow crescent of the moon, it was evident a little more than nothing. Finally, I discovered the desired oil storage, and to the south of it a dilapidated building. The warehouse was found by the light breaking through from the windows, judging by the trembling emanating from the fires. Approaching the window, I silently moved to side the dirty glass and looked inside.

The party here is clearly a success. There were more than a hundred people in the room. Half of them were already lying somewhere, usually in an embrace with bottles or half-empty boxes of booze. Here and there burned fires and barrels of coal. Swarming music poured from large speakers. In the center, a platform was built of building materials and garbage, and installed four pillars with naked girls attached to them. Each of them someone raped, plus a few more people stood in line. One of the girls showed no signs of life. I checked the telekinesis and made sure that she was already dead. But this did not upset the rapists. Moreover, the queue for her was the longest.

"Critters! Freaks. You are worse than demons." - I hissed, coming to a state of mad rage. - "I'll tear all nonhumans to pieces"

I darted off and quickly circled the building around the perimeter, looking for patrols. There were such here, and I tore them into small pieces, hiding the corpses in secluded places. Another observer, or a fan of fresh air, showed up on the roof. After cleaning the area, I completely filled the warehouse with my strength and ordered the symbiont to track the position of each person and prevent them from trying to get out of the building. Now I could not worry no-one of these creatures would leave here alive.

I quietly entered to the main hall through a window and hid behind a large container in the corner. Many of those present were armed, so I did not want to get into trouble, not being confident in their safety. Instead, I created a separate ball of darkness about human shape and hung it from the ceiling. Well, now it remains to start the presentation. I used telekinesis to make sounds emanating from snag. First of all, this was due to the fact that my real voice was the voice of a boy. And to maintain the image of a brutal macho trembling bass was required.

"I am horror flying on the wings of the night. I am a demon of justice devouring your souls. I am the wages of your sins. I am the Black Cloak." - There was an angry cry, drowning out all other sounds. The stain of darkness fell right into the center of the platform, smashing it almost the floor. Straightening, it took the form of a man in a raincoat, on whose face devilish signs burned. - "You are all condemned to death. You are worse than animals, and therefore not worthy even to die like men."

This was the end of my talk, and I began to save this world from the nasty form of creatures - humans. The shadow rushed around the room, leaving behind glowing lines, and each time it ran into someone, that person would scatter into pieces, filling everything around with blood.

The gangsters immediately began to shoot at the illusion with enthusiasm, but I stopped the bullets by telekinesis. A couple of times I missed the shots from the machine gun, but then I adapted myself, and I was sure that not a single bullet could harm me anymore. It was now a reflex embedded in my symbiont.

A minute later, some Merchants rushed to one of the boxes and pulled out a grenade launcher. I even specifically lingered on the spot to give him the opportunity to shoot. The rocket struck the figure, but the explosion only uselessly stirred the air. The main striking factor of the anti-tank missile is the flow of hot metal shot forward at the moment of the explosion. But even it was stopped by my power. I collected the metal in a ball and poured this "liquid" into the mouth of the nearest drug user. He huddled in convulsions, and again I began my dance of death.

In the end, I no longer killed people, but only broke all the bones, leaving them to writhe on the floor. Only five minutes had passed since my appearance here, as there was not a single person in the warehouse, except for three girls in the center. I protected them from stray bullets, but was unable to heal the already existing physical and spiritual wounds. Another fifteen minutes was taken by the slow and painful death of the nonhumans, and at the end I tore them to pieces, mixing their corpses to a homogeneous blood mass.

I found a lot of money here. According to the most modest estimates, it was about hundred thousands of dollars. I mixed all the drugs with the corpses so that they certainly could not sell them to anyone. After that, I freed the girls, who had almost recovered, and left the shelter behind the container.

"Call the police, tell them what happened. Here is your address." - I said, dragging to one of them the phone taken from the gangster and the rusted sign from the outer wall of the building, on which the address was visible.

The girl looked at me with fear, and then took the phone. The call was short, not least because the dispatcher did not want to hear the details, but promised to send a patrol car. I decided not to leave the girls alone — naked in the docks at night, but there was no desire to be near them. So I showed them where the homemade shower was, and briefly said goodbye, hiding in the dark.

Then I sat on the roof and watched the surroundings. Ten minutes later, a couple of stray drug addicts approached the warehouse. After making sure that they were coming exactly here, I slowly and with gusto tore them apart. Fifteen minutes later, a patrol car drove up to the warehouse. It turned out to be two policemen who did not bother to get out and headed towards the warehouse.

"Grevor, are you there?" - Loudly shouted out one of them.

"Something there is no one. Probably drunk to the trash state." - muttered the second.

A pair of servants of the law went forward, highlighting a flashlight, and broke into an inconspicuous side door leading to the office premises of the warehouse. There they were met by one of the girls. She was wearing only a ragged jacket.

"Wow, what a chick!" - The cop admired, distinguished from his partner with a bulging belly. - "Go find someone there, and I'll have fun."

He grabbed the girl by the arm and pulled her to him. She didn't have the strength to resist, and she just wept plaintively.

"Don't rock the boat, otherwise it will be worse." - Policeman threatened her, tearing off her jacket with one hand, and unbuttoning his pants with the other.

"Jack, fuck, fucking full here!" - Shouted the second, just opened the door to the main hall. - "Jack?"

He turned his head and saw me looking at his partner dangling in the air with his pants down. Cop tried to grab the gun, but found that he could not move.

"You are sentenced to death for attempting to rape a underage." - I spoke, and the fat pig lost its layers of clothing, skin, fat, muscles and internal organs. Only a bare skeleton with a still alive brain in the head fell to the ground. - "You are sentenced to death for covering up the rape of a underage and colluding with drug dealers." - I notified the second.

"No, please do not." - He whined. - "I have a young daughter."

"I'll definitely find her and see how some drug addict will rape her." - I reassured him, after which I repeated the procedure of execution.

Turning to the girl sitting by the wall, clasping her legs with her hands, I gave her a look and did not say a word outside. I adequately evaluated my abilities. All my powers are aimed at killing, not saving. So I could only help her with words, that is, nothing.

On the street I went to the car, opened the door and studied the police radio. Having found the channel switch there, I turned the knob to the "emergency call" position, then pressed the button on the microphone and spoke telekinesis.

"Dispatch." - I was not afraid that they would recognize me, because this body spoke like Bivitz, and I now spoke as a person who lived in another world. My accent and manner of making phrases was strikingly different.

"I'm listening. What happened?" - I heard the answer in ten seconds.

"Your police officers are dead, as well as hundreds of other local residents." - I replied with a calm and tired voice.

"What? Where are you?"

"Docks, Passing Street, building forty-one, house three."

"Can you describe what happened?"

"I executed your police officers and about a hundred Merchants for the rape of underage and murder."

"What? Executed? Who are you?"

"I am horror flying on the wings of the night. I am the new God of this world. I am the Black Cloak!" - I began this phrase with a calm voice, and finished with a cry of an exalted maniac.

Throwing the microphone, I again took a place on the roof and continued to observe. This time a column of police cars, roaring with sirens and flashing flash lights, appeared five minutes later. They can, when they want. The soldiers in body armor with machine guns and shotguns scattered around the neighborhood and broke into the main gates of the warehouse, simply blowing them that, the first five rushed inside and a second later collapsed to her knees, crouching in vomiting gusts. Here, the faint of girls were discovered in another couple of minutes, immediately wrapping them in blankets and taking them to the ambulance van. After that, I considered my mission accomplished and left, never discovered by anyone. However, the police did not particularly look for anyone. Finding out that the mask was involved in the case, they called the Emergency Response Department of the Parahuman Response Team and then only wandered around the outskirts, dragging the territory with yellow ribbons prohibiting passage.

I got to the house by three in the morning. There, I added cash to a suitcase with trophies and went to sleep.

In the morning, as always, having slept the first couple, I went shopping to buy me normal clothes. Bivitz not walked completely in shreds, but it was cheap things. And I need style. Having updated my wardrobe, I visited a large notary office and "rented" a notary who able to verify the documents at clients office. Together with him I went to brothel, to my mother.

"Sarah, you have a visitor" - A local pimp shouted loudly to whole brothel, when understood who I was. Bivitz came here only couple times before.

"Oh, who wanted me? Bivitz?" - Mom surprised to see me.- "What happened"

"I need you to sign couple of documents. Can we talk in more private place?"

"Yes, of course"

The prostitute gave a rating look to the notary, and then went somewhere deep into the corridors with wagging the clothes on her, by the way, were only thongs.

"Here are the documents. Get it and sign it." - I poured a folder on the table in the room where Sarah Swine eventually led us. Now she was wearing a short robe and smoking a thin cigarette through the mouthpiece.

"Whats up?" She hostilely with one finger pulled out the paper and went deep into reading. - "Do you want to change the name? Never! What do not you like Bivitz Swine?"

"I'll pay you a thousand dollars." - I brought my killer argument.

"What? A thousand ... "- A shock appeared on the face of the woman. - "Where did you get that kind of money?"

"Oh, oh, this is our family business." - I grinned mockingly.

"What? You? ... So you …" - Suddenly, the woman burst into tears, covering her face with her hands. "But I wanted you to grow up as a normal person."

"Well, I'm sorry I became as crazy as you. The apple never falls far from the tree."

After a couple of minutes, she rested and began to re-examine the documents.

"Eros Ramazotti? Why is weird name?"

"Why? It fits my new scene image."

"This is it you ... you …" - Mommy tried again to cry, nodding at the notary.

"Not. It's just a notary who will assure your signature."

"Ok, I'll sign." - Sarah Swain agreed in an unexpectedly serious voice, in which there was no hint of emotion. - "Do you have money with you?"

"Of course. But first arrange the documents."

I took a small chunk of banknotes out of my pocket. It was exactly one thousand dollars. However, I had space for bargaining, and in the same pocket there were nine more such packs. The further process went without incident and ended with the delivery of all the necessary documents for me to change my name.

"And now what? Do you need another apartment?" - Asked mom, when the notary collected the documents and went to the exit of the room.

"About month I to live there."

"And then?"

"And then I'll be a Hollywood star, and the whole world will be under my feet." - I blindingly smiled.

"Yeah, sure." - The star of the scene, wise over the years, agreed, who also began with show business in due time.

"Well, if anything went wrong, I will get job in brothel." - I replied, also intending to exit. - "I will serve customers in the next room. And in the evenings, as mother and son, we will share the secrets of family craftsmanship."

I turned around and smiled at a relative of Bivitz with a disgusting grin. I hope I'll never see her again. Although money is worth toss. Later. If I do not forget.

Out of the brothel, without delay, I went to the administration, where I submitted all the necessary papers, filled out bribes and signed kickbacks. The rusty machine of the bureaucracy unexpectedly quickly turned around, and I was asked to come in for the documents and the ready passport tomorrow morning. It cost me, however, all this magnificence of eight thousand evergreens.

Having had a snack in a restaurant, I went to school. After yesterday's massacre at the docks, I expected the school to stand on the ears again. But instead I found a picture of universal mourning. Most of the students walked about like a bag and people were confused and were quietly discussing something in the corners.

"Hi, Stephen ." - I greeted my best source of rumors. - "And what else happened in school that everyone goes in such mourning?"

"Haven't you heard about the dock massacre?"

"No. On the radio in the morning something was broadcast about it, but I thought there was an ordinary shootout."

"So, let's go." Stephen looked around and dragged me into the far corner of the class. Clearly wanting to get rid of the competition and single-handedly throw me another sensation. - "In general, a new villain appeared in the city. He called himself Black."

"Niger or what?" - I could not resist.

"Yes, to hell of these niggers tell. But there is another version that his name is Black Cloak. He really walks in a black cloak and wears a demon mask on his face."

"Somehow unoriginal."

"Apparently, seems lack of fantasy . Or he is a fan of the classics. So, don't knock me down. In general, there was a new villain who declared war against drugs."

"You wanted to say a hero?" - Again, I corrected.

"Not. If he was a hero, he would walk like as idiot through the streets and tell everyone that drugs are evil. But he said that from now on he is the God of Brockton Bay, and for the sale of drugs he would kill on the spot. And as the seriousness of his intentions decided to kill two gangs of Merchants. One was only a dozen, and the second was throwing some kind of party, and there they were feasting more than a hundred people. This Black has killed all of them there. He literally tore into pieces and covered the whole warehouse with giblets right up to the ceiling.

Rush drives. I already get scared myself.

"So what was next?" - I pushed.

"And then, The Empire and the APP, as they learned about this scenario, immediately raised the price of drugs five times. And now the whole school goes and trying to figure out how to live."

"Hmm ... did you buy the bandages already?"

"Bandages? What for?"

"To do the dressing. You will not be released from school now. Every drug addict will beat money from you for a dose."

"Heck! It is necessary to run away."

Stephen looked around again, and then rushed to the window, clearly appreciating the possibility of sigling there, so as not to go through the main exit.

"Well, happy for you. But I, perhaps, will study a little in classroom". - I admonished him.

"And you are not afraid to stay here?"

"No. I have a secret route of retreat"

"Show?"

"It'll be cheaper for you to pay off to drug addicts. Stuck bucks, and no one will touch you."

"Eh, you, and also the friend, is called."

"Friendship is friendship, but money apart."

At the big break, I went to the school administration, but not to the director, but to John Torstein - the head teacher in administrative work, as the sign on door of his office said. It was a man with sly eyes, who always stole something, but so skillfully that all the bumps fell on innocent people. I negotiated with him about the change of my name and the issuance of reissued documents about my studying here to me. I did not see the point of continuing to attend Winslow, and instead I set my sights on Arcadia, the best school in the city.

In principle, the local education was lost nothing on me. But on the other hand, it was known to all that underage masks were studying in Arcadia, members of the Wards team under the auspices of the Protectorate. So I will get access to the body of several capes and I can copy to myself those abilities that I like best. If I could get the skill of manipulating the darkness in just a few minutes, then, with unlimited daily access, I can achieve much more impressive results.

I was most attracted by the talent of Panacea. This girl could heal wounds and diseases of almost any severity. Now Vritras is not available to me, and therefore it is worthwhile to find a replacement for it. Telekinesis will easily replace defensive and offensive magic, and healing will cover up in case if I injured. Still, the human body is too vulnerable. Poke a knife in the liver - and any doctor can save you.

After completing school works, I went to the city, along the way knocked out a couple of teeth that thought they were cool racketeers. In the city center, I went to an Internet cafe, where I began to wool forums in search of information about myself. It is necessary to know what impression I made and how to promote my image further.

Forum: Masks Brockton Bay.

Post: Black (Black Cloak)

Snail: Time to have it! I'm first one! A new cape has appeared in the city. Black called himself. Details coming soon.

Megacock: And what? Is there a little black in the city?

Dealer: I confirm. Dad just got stuck home. All in shit and vomit. He said that the Black Cloak came to their den and tore apart seven people. At the same time, the ancestor especially insisted that he was tied up with the sale of drugs and would now boil only vodka according to the old-fashioned recipe.

Yellow popsicle: Share the recipe for vodka.

Diller: Yeah. This booze I need to myself. By the way, Cape is called Black Cloak, not Black. Tell this to him when meet, and he gently shoots you with bloody ribbons. Then a friend of my father came and showed the picture on the phone. At first I thought it was guts at a meat processing plant, but then I recognized the room. In general, the main thing when meeting him is to be respectful and not to have drugs. He particularly frightened that the death penalty was imposed for the drug trade. I will send photo in the morning.

Snail: So, the details. It seems that the new cape disliked Merchants. Now I spoke with the team that left for an urgent call. At one of the warehouses in the docks there was another gathering of the Merchants. Well, you know - drugs, booze, girls. There came a new cape and literally tore them all to pieces. The police, who first came to the warehouse, immediately began to vomit as they all saw it. No pictures and are unlikely to be. At least not with me. The case was transferred to the PRT. According to preliminary calculations, more than a hundred people were killed. Only three girls survived, whos were pumped there with drugs and pushed by circle. Another girl was found dead, but at least in one piece.

Snail: Diller, thank you. The title of the topic corrected.

Snail: And by the way, Black Cloak personally confessed to the dispatcher that he had killed a hundred merchants and two policemen. Plus, he declared himself, I quote: I am the new god of this world.

By-pass: What were the police doing there? They decided to visit friends among Merchants, and fuck someone for free?

White Niger: Definitely. I am sure that this is exactly what happened. It has long been time to press these creatures. And then all political correctness and law observance. And as our girls are raped by mobs in the doorways - I'm sorry, no corpus delicti was found. Black - keep it up. Show them that among the niggas has normal heroes.

Saber-toothed Rat: Let the earth rest in peace, White Niger. The Black Cloak will punish you for such an appeal. I am sure that he is not Niger. Blackasses always only row for themselves. Niger would say that the death penalty is for selling drugs that were not bought from him.

By-pass: +1

Snail: So, freed. Received identikit of the Black Cloak. See the picture on the link. The classification of forces is still unclear, but it is known that he owns telekinesis and levitation. Most importantly, he completely ignores the Manton Effect. That is, he can tear you apart without any effort. Plus easily holds a shot from a grenade launcher at close range. It turns out the Shaker and Mover.

[Link to picture]

Kitty: What a brutal man. I already want him.

By-pass: +1

Yellow popsicle: Weird By-pass. You are a man.

By-pass: And what? My love is as wide as the universe.

Yellow popsicle: What if he really nigga?

By-pass: T_T

Saber-toothed Rat: Yes, you look at the foto. It can be seen that this is a normal white, only in a mask.

By-pass: ^ _ ^

True Arius: And I think he is Chinese.

By-pass: O_o Why?

True Arius: Well, obviously. He specifically called himself Black, So Whites thought he nigga, and niggas thought he white. But in fact he is narrow-eyed - he is sitting now, reading our forum and laughing.

White Niger: O_O

Horcrux(PRT): I confirm the emergence of a new villain. Rating: shaker-8, mover-4. For any information about the location and abilities relies reward. Code name: Black.

True Arius: Arktic Fox! If they do not change their mind, then all in PRT is doomed. Black Cloak will punish them for such an insult.

Horcrux(PRT): There already was mask named The Black Cloak that died when he collided with Behemoth three years ago.

True Arius: Will you make excuses like this when he comes and starts tearing you to pieces?

Administrator: True Arius gets a ban for three days for violating forum rules.

Almost True Arius: Oh, I'm afraid, I'm afraid.)

Administrator: Almost True Arius gets a life ban for violating forum rules.

Completely True Arius: I have direct access to the central router of New York. Will you ban whole America?

Administrator: If required. Completely True Arius gets a life ban for violating forum rules.

I yawned and looked up from the forum. Something already some kind of flame went. In general, people pissing with boiled water. And the PRT is really worth punishing. I just need to think of how.

I scrolled a few pages of the forum and found a link to the news site, with the caption "The whole truth about Black." Clicking on it, I got on the official site of the television news channel "Central News Network". The page hosted a video report, which I immediately touched in the playback.

“Greetings, Tina Ulver is with you on the CNN channel. I have just returned from the official joint presentation of the PRT and the Protectorate and am ready to tell you what happened tonight at Brockton Bay. At the docks committed a terrible crime. More than a hundred civilians were killed by a mad cape. As you can see on the identikit, this villain wears a long black cloak and a demon mask. He called the police and reported on his crime. He named himself Black and declared himself as the new god of Brockton-Bay, demanding to worship him. Among the victims of the dangerous maniac were also two policemen and one of the masks Merchants - Moist. Miraculously, only three girls, whom the villain had raped for several hours, managed to escape. The protectorate and the PRT in a joint statement expressed a strong protest against such unlawful actions and assured us that they would do everything possible to ensure that the offender shall receive a fair punishment. With you was Tina Ulver on the CNN channel. Follow our news.’

So this is how it is. It turns out that I killed innocent civilians, and then for hours I raped girls. Yes, for sure, and all three of them at the same time. Okay, this is war! Seeing the Being, you are forced me to do this.

On the website of the channel, I found the address of the editorial staff of the CNN, where I went after taking a taxi. On the first floor of the building, there was a cafe, where I located with all the convenience. Using telekinesis, I scanned the entire building and focused on the seventh and eighth floors, where the studio was located. Focusing on the body shape, I selected girls who looked like the presenter, and then began to listen to conversations next to them. Ten minutes later one of them was called Tina, and I focused on her.

"Tina, what's up with your six-hour news report?"

"I'm working on it"

"It's already half past four, and you are still working. You must show me your live broadcast record at half past five maximum. If you do not have time, then you will go to the nine o'clock news, and for this you will have to re-shoot everything against the background of the evening city."

"I know. It remains for me only to reduce the sound of the direct inclusion of Martin. It is necessary to add interference from the wind, as if it really is on the tower of the Protectorate."

"Ask John to help you. Let him drop everything and do it first."

"Good. Coming soon."

Tina ran into the next room, and I followed her boss, who had returned to his workplace. It seems that I will need to defend the freedom of speech with an smoothing-iron and a soldering iron. I looked at the TV above the desk where the channel I wanted went on. After scanning the neighborhood, I found some more TVs showing this channel. Well, now when I have a mean objective control, I can work a little on the program schedule.

Only I was going to create a clot of shadow in the office of the chief editor, suddenly I changed my mind. First, it will be my first appearance on television. So it is necessary to make a favorable impression on the audience, and not to appear in the form of a blurred shapeless shadow. Secondly, if I speak on this channel, its ratings will increase, and they will have only benefit from it. Thirdly, I can crucify the Tina later. It is not necessary to do this in live broadcast. And fourthly, it's only six o'clock in the evening, and many people are still at work. It is better to perform in prime time at nine in the evening.

So I had a snack, and then again went to an internet cafe to find an alternative television station. In half an hour everything became more or less clear. The city had two of the largest sharks of the mass media: CNN Television, which has a branch of CNN Northeast, and ZBS Entertainment with a nameless local office. It is quite obvious that I chose the second company, because they were not so frankly slandering me.

I went home, where I changed into my work costume, then I thought about it and changed into everyday wear, putting my heroic cloak in my backpack. It's not worthy to uncover my place of residence. Especially since in the pantry I have a case with a lot of money.

On foot, I walked to the docks, where I found a inconspicuous, abandoned building and changed clothes, leaving my backpack in a hastily equipped cache. Having searched the surroundings with telekinesis, I became sure of the absence of unnecessary witnesses and, after passing through several buildings standing nearby, I got out. Here I walked a little more through the streets, and then flew off higher and moved towards the city center. I didn't meet a single hero, so I safely reached the building I needed. The television station was well located on the top floor of a twenty-story building, so all I could do was to open the door with telekinesis and walk from roof to staircase and go straight to the office of the chief editor, and for one office manager.

"Good evening. Did not interfere?"- I asked the director which enthusiastically fucking his secretary.

"What? Who? .. Black Cloak? No, of course not intervene." - Quickly realized the boss, zipping his fly.

"It's nice when you known by name. Do not introduce yourself, Mr. ...?"

"Donald McDuck ."

" Huh ! Do you, by chance, called your father Scrooge?"

"Grandpa."

"That's it. You immediately see a hereditary moneybags."

"Eeee ..." - Donald did not even find what to say.

"I'm on your case. Today you have a prime time interview with me on the channel."

"Yes?" - The editor was surprised. - "Oh, well, for sure. Of course it is planned, mister Black Cloak."

"Actually, I want to tell you the truth about what happened last night at the bay. I was extremely upset by the unreasonable slander from your competitors from CNN. So in the near future they will go bankrupt and sell their entire business for a peanuts to you.

"Um ... this is good news."

"Yes, let's make good news and enjoy this world, not the afterworld."

Half an hour later I was sitting in the studio at the table, and a pretty TV presenter winking eyes next to me. The director gave the command to start shooting, and we started the conversation.

"Good evening, dear viewers." - Started leading. - "Today our guest is a special person, to whom many issues of today's news were devoted."

"First, I should introduce myself. I am the horror flying in the darkness of the night. I am the law, the judge and the executioner. I am the Black Cloak!"

"We all heard about these tragic events that occurred last night at the docks. Can you tell something about it, so to speak, from the first person.?"

"Certainly. I agree with you that those were tragic events. But let's start in order. I arrived in Brockton Bay relatively recently. Having studied the state of Affairs in your city, I have come to the conclusion that the rule of law is urgently required here. Local criminal elements actually sit on the head of honest citizens, exploiting them in all possible ways. Therefore, I decided to take responsibility for maintaining order in the city. And first of all issued a decree banning the sale of drugs."

"But their sale is already prohibited."

"Yes, but it's only on paper. And in reality, drugs are sold on every corner. So, having issued the decree, I moved forward on patrol of the city in search of drug dealers."

"But nobody knew that you took this decree."

"Any lawyer will tell you that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I found, convicted and punished two groups of drug dealers at the docks. Their guilt was proven by objective facts, with which they were no worse acquainted than I was."

"Do you think that the drug trade is supposed to be death?"

"Any violation of the law is punishable by death. Correction, for breaking my laws. You need to understand that the punishment for a crime should not in order to revenge the offender, and in order to clean the society from harmful elements. Execution is a quick, effective and cost-effective form of punishment. But back to the events of last night. Already after midnight I found a warehouse where there was a mass rape of four girls. Imagine a hundred drunk men taking turns raping underage girls. Moreover, by the time of my arrival one of the girls was already dead, but her corpse continued to rape."

"Awful!"

"I agree with you. As an honest and decent man, I immediately issued a decree banning rape and immediately condemned and punished all those responsible for this heinous crime."

"The police were one of them?"

"Not really. After releasing the girls, I asked them to call the police, and I began to monitor the neighborhood area. I couldn't leave naked girls alone on the docks at night. In half an hour, notice, half an hour, the patrol car with two police officers approached to a warehouse. And the first thing they did when they saw one of the victims was try to rape her. After that, all I had to do was condemn and execute the criminals. Real werewolves in uniform.

"That's ... I'm speechless."

"In principle, these two can be understood."

"What? How"

"As I said, they was the "werewolves in uniform", that is just animals pretending to be people. Their instincts, desires and interests they put above the interests of others. It's disgusting, but at least it can be explained logically. But what happened after that, in my opinion, is much worse.

"And what happened?"

"I found the car of police officers and on the radio reported an event to the dispatcher. Five minutes later, an entire convoy of police cars arrived. That is, when it came to the threat to the lives of decent citizens, the reaction of justice took half an hour and consisted in the arrival of animals in police uniforms. And as soon as it came to murder of police officers, they arrived to a place in five minutes the whole crowd. That says a lot. Fortunately, this time they didn't begin to rape girls, and took them to the ambulance. The worst thing happened this afternoon. The picture is from the testimony of the witnesses and my story to the Chief of the police was quite evident. But instead of give me credit, instead of though and conviction, but to tell people the truth, the PRT and the Protectorate went on a deliberate fraud. They accused me of killing 100 innocent law-abiding citizens and raping three girls. Me, saving them twice for one hour. And then the question is, why did they do it? Can you think of a reason for that? Why deceive ordinary citizens?

"Well ... I guess they wanted to make their point."

"Exactly! That is from their point of view the gang of the Merchants selling drugs to our children are - law abiding citizens. And for an attempt to save someone, it is necessary to punish, destroying reputation of the real heroes and accusing them of those crimes which are made under the direct leadership of PRT."

"You want to say that the rape took place on the orders of the PRT?"

"Certainly. Maybe not a direct order, but they clearly acted as one of organizers of this "event". According to their tacit consent, with their direct approval, drug Dealers sell drugs, the ABB rapes girls in the streets, the Empire ruins honest entrepreneurs. I say enough. We've had enough of this false propaganda. Ordinary people do not have the ability to resist this arbitrariness, but I have the opportunity. And be sure, I will use my force to punish all violators of my laws. In a couple of years, Brockton Bay will be the city with the lowest crime rate in the world.

"But it will not happen that in our city there will be no inhabitants left at that moment?"

"I don't. Decent people are not in danger. Moreover, having lost competition and pressure from criminals, people will find that maintaining a good standard of living requires much less effort. After all, they will not need to feed and serve a whole pack of criminals, corrupt officials and Illuminati.

"Well, your point is clear to me. Unfortunately, our time is coming to an end. Do you want to say something to our viewers in the end?"

"Yeah. I wish you all to live through these troubled times and remind you that drug trafficking, theft, robbery and rape are all crimes for which the death penalty is imposed. All the guilty will be punished. Retribution is inevitable, for I am retribution. I'm Black Cloak.

"Vanessa Gerhardt was with you on the ZBS channel."

This TV show ended, and I left the Studio, taking the Director's business cards and a couple of reporters. Two hours later, an extraordinary release of the program "Interview with the legend" took place, where my performance was shown almost uncut. I watched it, already sitting at home and estimating reaction on the Internet, using the freshly bought laptop.

Shit on all the forums was such that the administrators do not have time to remove posts and ban their authors. As I understand it, the villains did not risk to make such an interview on TV. Why, they preferred not to give them such an opportunity. I managed to break the screens because the local Director was not the latest bump on the channel, plus I lucidly explained to him what awaits him if he will not give my interview. Well, besides, I brought a copy of the interview, recorded on a laser disc. And there was no doubt that if anything wrong happens I will post it on the Internet, and then instead of the growth of ratings channel expects them to fall.

At ten o'clock in the evening I again put on a suit and got out on cleaning of the territory from criminal elements. This time the city was quite lively. In four hours, I saw the Battery, the Armsmaster, Lady Photon, and even the Demon Lee. But in his eyes I decided not to get caught. Today I moved mainly through the streets five meters above the ground, hiding behind darkness and buildings. Lighting in this part of the city was very few, and beyond the coastal and southern docks I have not poked.

During the patrol I found and destroyed a couple of dozen drug dealers, bandits and thieves, finding each of them at the crime scene. The reach of my telekinetic perception had already increased to a couple hundred meters in radius, so their search was quite simple. Of course, I could not immediately cover the entire sphere with a diameter of four hundred meters, but for ten minutes I could make a clear understanding of what is happening in the vicinity, and what I need to pay special attention. By two o'clock in the morning I considered my mission accomplished, so I returned home and went to bed.

In the morning, for a change I woke up on time and immediately went to the city administration. There I was waiting for ready documents. You could say I'm starting a new life today. From scratch. Life is not burdened with the fate of Bivitz Swine. I'm Eros Ramazotti now.

Then I went to school. I wanted to pick up the translation documents in my new name early, but the principal's office was closed, so I had no choice but to go to class. The first lesson today was history. I thought I would have to break into the classroom in the middle of the lesson, but opening the door, I saw that the teacher is absent, and the students are having fun as they can. Cheerfully whistling, I went to my place, where a group of my friends was already huddled together, discussing something fiercely.

"Oh, Bivitz. We need your expert opinion." - Stephen addressed me, obviously unable to defend his point of view. In such cases he was always angry and tossed his hair, becoming a sort of an angry hedgehog.

"What? Come on, burn." - I threw the briefcase on the desk and sat down on a chair, turning to the company.

"Did you see the Black Cape's interview yesterday, didn't you?" I nodded. "We have in this regard divided opinions, consider him a hero or a villain."

"Well, I think it's pretty obvious.…"

"I told you. He's evil!" Stephen interrupted me triumphantly.

"...The black Cloak is a hero." I finished calmly.

"What?"

"He saves people, fights crime, reveals to the public the insidious plans of the villains."

"Is what bad guys?' Puzzled asked Jack a fat boy with glasses and acne.

"The Protectorate, of course." I also said "It's obvious that the PRT and the Protectorate are the villains."

"Who are the heroes then?"

"Black Cloak."

"And what else?"

"Hmm," I Thought. "Something I do not remember such."

"All clear with you" - Stephen made his diagnosis. — "You are a fan of the Black Cloak. Your opinion is biased, and therefore it can be ignored."

"Why is it biased, Yes I am…"

My angry speech was interrupted by the appearance of the history teacher, who slammed the folder on the table and shouted:

"Silence! I stayed late at the teachers' meeting today, but that's no reason to make noise during class. Bivitz, the head teacher, is looking for you. What have you done?

"It's a secret." I replied, picking up my briefcase and rising from my chair. "Steven, if I don't come back alive from this meeting, I'll leave you my seat. Pray there for me."

With these words I left the room, ignoring the staring eyes of my classmates. I wasn't planning to come back here. The meeting with the head teacher ended with our mutual pleasure. He got a thousand dollars, and I got papers in my new name that testify to eight years of schooling.

After leaving Winslow school, I went straight to Arcadia school. There I too went not to the Director, and to his Deputy on educational work Eliza Cassan. My desire to transfer to this school was received without enthusiasm. But only until I expressed a desire to help the school financially, perhaps even directly to its best employees.

To my surprise, Eliza did not demand a bribe for herself, but went with this idea to the Director. He looked through the documents, looked at me appraising look, and asked not such a huge amount of thirty thousand dollars. I could afford that. That's about what I collected last night. These drug dealers are the real high roller.

In the end, I was puzzled by the need to pass exams in basic subjects, promising to issue textbooks and a list of topics for testing after paying the bill. After meeting with the Director, I went to the accounting Department, where I dumped in front of the shocked cashier a whole bunch of money in small bills. I have this waste paper almost the entire portfolio was packed.

Replacing enough pile of money to the solid weight of the books, I left this temple of knowledge. The exam was scheduled for tomorrow morning, so I still had time to prepare.

My next stop was the real estate Agency. There I just through half of the day the convulsive ravings workers bought a good kennel with a view to my new school. I also paid in cash, and a couple of small bribes allowed bureaucrats to close their eyes to the fact that the new owner of the property is a underage. I'm not afraid to spend money for two reasons. First, easy come-easy gone. And secondly, who knows how I do in this world will be. Maybe tomorrow I will be pulled by the Being out of the body, and my money cried.

Till the evening I was engaged in moving and improvement of the new living space. Well at least it was sold with furniture, and I had to buy only a bed and a couple of chairs. After lying for a couple of hours on the new bed, I went on a night patrol. Revenge to the PRT in my mind is not yet ripe, so I decided to continue cleanings, for one to gain reputation.

This time I decided to take a walk not in the docks, but in the southern part of the city, where the wealthiest segments of the population lived. Frolic in the centre I have not yet risked, knowing that there are a lot of observers. In addition, street lighting did not allow to hide with the same efficiency as on the outskirts. I haven't been ready to cut out dozens of masks yet. No, in General, I rated my opportunities as quite high, but it took me a while to get used to them. My symbiont need time to be able to achieve at least relative maturity.

Unlike the docks, the southern business district was extremely boring. Identical two-storey houses with several apartments. Mandatory lawn in front of each house and a few trees in the backyard. Autumn has long come into its own, and the leaves of the trees flew around, making the crown more transparent. With shelters here was a little difficult, so I preferred to sit on the roofs, moving fast jumps from one house to another.

To my surprise, I didn't see any heroes today. They probably all tried to catch me at the docks. Good luck them. The catch here was thinner, but the bigger fish themselves. Local drug dealers had enough money. Today I didn't just kill everyone, and still have previously questioned, trying to enter the warehouse more. One of the drug couriers told me about the drug warehouse behind which the Empire stood. Now I was sitting with my informant on the roof of a nearby building and scanning a suspected drug dealer base.

It looked like a normal two-storey mansion drug dealers. Half of the building was residential. There now lived a married couple. But the second half was rather a cross between the office and the warehouse. And there are three caches I found over a hundred kilos of various drugs. It was powders and pills and dried grass and other unidentifiable shit.

"So who do you say runs this warehouse?" I asked the hostage again. He did not say anything like that, but he had to know the answer to this question.

"This Is the warehouse of the Empire. Now there is running the Night and Fog. They like themselves, but the goods are taken from the Imperials and sell them. According to science, this is called a small wholesale warehouse."

"Are you an economist?" I glanced at the slender figure.

"I graduated from economic College. My mother forced me to go there. Said I'd become a banker. And as I learned, it turned out that economists are not needed, because the economy is in a coma because of the attacks of the Behemots and villains. I had to retrain as a pizza guy. And then a friend offered to work on the delivery of drugs."

"You don't have to tell me about your shitty life. Well, you held up your end of the bargain. You have a chance for a second life. And now you're quietly getting out of here and getting out of the drug business. If I catch you doing this again, I'll tear you apart as your client. And don't you dare tell anyone about me or call anyone. If the cops or the Empire arrive here, you will die long and with a lot of unforgettable sensations."

Guy doomed swallowed and nodded. I let him down and watched him run away at full speed. Well, let's see what kind of masks live here.

I darted forward and stood in front of the window of the room on the second floor. A slight telekinetic effort pushed the locks away, and the window flew open, letting in the cold autumn air. As I flew in, I closed the window and began to plan silently above the staircase leading to the first floor. The married couple somehow immediately found out about my invasion and watched the passage, which I was not slow to appear.

Black cloak, glowing scarlet light demonic mask and a light fog of darkness did not allow to doubt who visited them.

"Black Cloak." - Squeezed out a Fog with indeterminate terms of a set of of emotions in voice.

"Night and Fog." Replied "I think, you already understood, why I am here?"

I'm not a fan of all this heartwarming talk in front of the Grand battle, but I wanted to check what I stand against a prepared opponents who knows my intentions. The Moist on the base of a Merchants I have torn to shreds, not even noticing the presence of his forces. I didn't even know which of the bastards in there was Cape. I guess I killed him first, so he didn't even have time to use his power. They say he had purple skin. I just sat behind the dumpster and perceived enemies by "touch". So I just couldn't tell the difference between him and the others. And he has garbage power rating, somewhere in the area of the three. Now I was going to fight with two very dangerous masks, which were considered among the strongest in the Empire Eighty-Eight.

"Do you think that you able to kill two of us?" - Fog released forward, covering Night.

"I think the only question is can you entertain me, or you will die like miserable losers begging for mercy."

"Do you, by the way, not embarrassed by the fact that we are not masked?"

"Not at all. I don't care about all these your games of heroes and villains. In addition, I am going to kill you not for the fact that you are masks, but for the fact that you are selling drugs. How did you even think of organizing a warehouse in your home? All drug dealers have seen you by sight."

"We said that we rent half of the house from a couple. And certainly no one saw how we change clothes."

"Heh. And here you really screwed up. I was not one hundred percent sure that you are masks and are related to drugs. But your reaction betrayed you headlong."

"No, in fact, we are a peaceful married couple, not having any relation to all this paranormal nonsense." - Intervened in our conversation Night.

"Tha ha ha. And you pranksters. But you should rehearse your speech. In the next world."

I decided that I had already laughed enough, and it was time to start on the massacre. Snatching a bouquet of flowers from a vase, I tried to bring him down on the head of the Fog, but he unexpectedly deftly dodged.

"Maybe we go out into the yard? I do not want to carry our home." He offered, grabbing flowers and thrusting them back into the vase.

"I think ... no. Your money caches are perfectly protected, and bills will not be affected, even if I collapse the entire building. Better start resisting, otherwise I won't even remember when I come to lay flowers on your common grave.

"Actually, we indicated in the will that we should be buried separately." - Again made an "important" remark Night.

"I do not think that they will succeed. I will grind your bodies to a state of puree, and then pour it into that barrel. I think there is a real chance that your remains will lie in it for a long time. No one will look for a corpse in such an inappropriate place."

I specifically turned in the direction of the specified piece of furniture depicting a "pirate table." This moment Fog used to evaporate. In his form of fog from immediately tried to fill the whole room. At the same time, the Night turned into something shapeless and many-faced. But I was most interested in what happens with their symbionts.

And with them everything was very interesting. The combat form of the Night was in fact her symbiote in this reality. They literally exchanged places. While the symbiote frolicked in our world, the Night was hiding at that level of multidimensionality, where these creatures usually lived. From this followed her invulnerability of the girl in this state, and even a return to the initial state upon receiving injuries, and then wrapping back and forth.

The symbiont did not move her, "shifting" in the right direction, but every time it literally recreated her anew. The night "on the wrong side of the world" was a kind of information copy used for its subsequent materialization here. And this copy partially continued to exist, even when it was in this world. The reason why she could not turn to combat form when someone was looking at her was also interesting. Symbiont had in his mind a clear statement "not to appear to people's sight," which it literally performed.

I realized all this, feeling the Cape with my telekinetic tentacles. Despite all my experience, the manipulation of multidimensionality was still a mystery to me. So I had to set up experiments, and then observe them, "discovering" new dimensions of the surrounding world. And I must say that these measurements were slightly more than plenty of. I have already counted a half dozen.

Fog and Night rushed forward in an attempt to reach me, and I met them with the tentacles of my symbiote. The problem with the fog was solved quite simply. He tritely sprayed himself into separate cells, each of which was ruled by a separate tentacle of his symbiont. To some extent, this resembled as telekinesis, which acts only on its own body. And since my telekinesis was much stronger, the fog stopped a meter away from me.

With the Night again, surprises arose. Not that she completely ignored the effects of tentacles, but they, like all normal symbionts, were in a shift with respect to the material world. A symbiot of the Night was here and now, so that the impact on it was extremely remote.

Apparently, these creatures possessed some immunity to each other's abilities, because telekinesis could not stop the creature, but only slowed it down. However, this was enough to get out of the blow. I struck the wall with my back and was in another room. The night continued to haunt me, but got to the edge of the fog, where it stopped, not wanting to return to human form. The fog stubbornly pressed forward, apparently not understanding what it was holding him. Shreds of white haze seeped through the cracks and ventilation, but I already instructed the symbiont to automatically track the movement of the enemy and not allow it to me closer than a meter.

The night was quite an interesting experimental model, and therefore I decided to deal with the Fog first of all. My pyrokinesis could not be called strong, but it was definitely powerful. I could "set on fire" only a small amount of space, but the temperature there rose above a thousand degrees, plus the heating rate of matter was extremely high. So I created a small plasma ball, and then I began to telekinesis to drive through the trickle of fog.

After a second, Fog jerked and tried to escape, but then I grabbed him "by the scruff", holding literally every cell in his body. There was an agonizing cry, and then part of the fog was able to condense and form the head and lungs.

"Stop! Do not kill me."

"You would think about it earlier" I noticed with indifference, tracking the movements of the Night with my strength. "Or did you not know that drugs kill people, turning them into living animals?" And now I'm killing you. All honest. Eye for an eye."

At that moment, Night tried to attack me from behind, breaking through the wall of the house. That's just my telekinesis did not act only on her. The wall of the house completely obeyed me. So, when she went into the hole about half, the scattering fragments and pieces of the walls around it suddenly stuck to the body of the symbiote, depriving it of any mobility. The maximum that the Night was now capable of is to scrape her paws along the floor. Reliably having fixed it, I returned my attention to the Fog.

"Get back to your body, or I'll burn you drop by drop." - He nodded and took his normal appearance under my strict control. On his naked body were visible ulcers. Apparently, the cells I had destroyed should have been there. "Frankly, you disappointed me." I delivered my verdict. "The strongest masks of the Empire, and such a shame. You even could not touch me."

The night made another attempt to rush forward, but only achieved that her feet broke the floor, sweeping the floor into pieces.

"What do you want?"- croaked Fog.

"It seems that we have already found out? I'm going to carry out the sentence I gave you."

"And why didn't you kill me yet?"

"You are so funny. Your ability ... surprised me. Therefore, I will allow you to live until I finish experimenting with you all kinds of inhuman experiments."

The night again made an attempt to free itself, but did not succeed in this. Here, she turned into a human body and tried to slip into the holes between the rubble, but I was on the alert, and immediately grabbed her real body with telekinesis, clinging it to construction debris in one go.

"Do not rush." I scolded her, turning and looking into a distorted face of fear. "We have a whole night ahead. And then, I, as promised, will bury you together in a barrel."

Feigned fear was replaced by maniacal anger, which I completely ignored. As soon as I turned away, Night tried again to take on a fighting form, but found that she did not succeed. I tenaciously held every cell of the body, and its symbiote simply could not enter into a sufficiently tight interaction to "dematerialize" the physical body of its host. This time she felt a real fear, as I sense from her, and I quite smiled. Retribution is inevitable.

An hour before dawn, I poured the dust of two masks into a barrel, which I then carefully sealed and filled with wax. I had to burn down both capes, because otherwise the symbionts refused to admit defeat. But as soon as it became clear that the owners had died, these creatures relaxed and allowed my pet to devour themselves without a trace. Tellingly, this did not add to me either strength or new abilities. But on the other hand, the symbiote gained a little more intelligence and awareness. Now I understand why masks that kill other masks quickly go crazy. Their symbiote becomes stronger and begins to manage its owner. I guess I should become a pacifist until I study this issue more thoroughly.

The study of the two masks was entertaining, but the only benefit from this was only the new ability to "drag" my symbiont's tentacles into the material world. They looked, as normal tentacles, like black wet tentacles. These limbs could interact with objects as the most common tentacles - wrapping them around and moving in space. It is difficult to say why I needed this trick, but it didn't seem superfluous. If I suddenly encounter someone who ignores my telekinesis, I can always swaddle him with quite material tentacles. True, this prospect was not very pleased with the symbiont, because the loss of limbs was unpleasant for it.

I got out of the house accompanied by two safes, where was cash for a couple of millions. I burned the drugs, and on the wall I scribbled the inscription: "Night and Fog lived here. Here they died in wild torment. Black Cloak ".

Looking around, I rushed headlong to my home, gaining height to hide in low clouds. I needed not just to get into the apartment, but also quietly carry there two not the smallest safes. Well at least I live on the penultimate floor. So, I managed to descend from the sky with a shapeless lump of darkness and fly into the window, which, in my capacity, was not difficult to open. I hope no one noticed me.

There was little time, so I immediately fell asleep. The exam was supposed to start at ten in the morning. It takes about ten minutes to go to school for. I set the alarm at half past nine and literally passed out right away. And characteristically, nightmares did not torment me.

I slept a little less than four hours, but I felt pretty decent. Quickly rinsed under a shower and brushing my teeth, I rushed to school. On the street there was a little nasty rain. The temperature was about eight degrees, so there was no desire to linger in the open air. After running the distance in five minutes, I entered the school a minute before the official start of the exam. Fortunately, the teachers were just getting ready.

I sat at the central desk, putting the briefcase with textbooks on the next table across the aisle. It was obvious to every person that I would not be able to use the contents of the backpack imperceptibly. There were textbooks issued to me yesterday, so that the teacher stuck her nose in there and put it off without giving it a bluff.

Just yesterday, while realtors were busy with making a flat deal, I trained to read books using telekinesis. Remembering my first training with the chakra, I made the symbiont learn to distinguish between different chemicals by touch. And then I had to train him to perceive each sheet of the book separately, on another from both sides. So, after three hours, I could surely read a closed book, lying a couple of meters away from me. To search for information, I used the table of contents at the beginning and the index at the end of the book.

During the exam, I used my cheat sheets to the full. Fortunately, there was no literature in the list of exams. To pass it, I would actually have to read a bunch of books. And the questions on all the other exact sciences, I cracked like nuts. Moreover, my stock of knowledge from the first life allowed me to navigate well in the school curriculum of this world.

In an hour and a half, I finished filling out all the tests, for which three hours were initially allocated. Ten minutes later I was told that I scored 412 points out of 500, which is enough to get me enrolled in the elite class, where the Wards studied. I was told to come tomorrow at the beginning of the first lesson, after which I was kicked out of the classroom.

I did not get upset by such boorish attitude, but went home. Along the way, my eyes caught on the sign of the bank, and I decided to visit it to find out the conditions for opening an account. Keeping all the money in the safe was somewhat imprudent. Still, I am at home quite rarely, and they can rob me corny. In this case, even a couple of thousand in the bank will help stretch until the moment I again knock out a money from someone. The only problem was that I was a minor, and therefore opening an account should be in the name of the mother, who would automatically get full access to him, which I absolutely did not like.

When I entered the bank, I was surprised by the spacious hall and a large number of people. On the overall, there were about thirty to forty of them. They stood in line to different windows, filling most of the room.

- How can I help you? - Appealed to me pretty girl in the form of a bank employee.

- I would like to open a personal account.

- Do you already have a passport?

- Yes.

- Then we can offer you a child account opening. It can store no more than a thousand dollars, and there are restrictions on operations, but you can open it without the participation of parents. If you are interested, you can contact window number eleven for more information.

I looked at the indicated window and saw that there was a queue of all of a couple of people standing towards him.

- Yes thank you.

I, having seen all this crowd, was already going to come in another time, but taking into account the size of the queue, it was possible to wait a bit. Squeezing to the window, I began to look around the room. Nearby there was a reception desk with bright advertisements advertising various types of investment of money and loans. It was just boring to stand, and I had already decided to go up and take a couple of leaves of waste paper, as a loud sound distracted me.

The doors leading to the bank's interior opened wide and three huge creatures the size of a horse jumped out. If someone has not seen horses, then I explain - this is such a healthy fool more than two meters high. And these animals were much more muscular, plus had a hefty toothed mouth. A second later, streams of darkness poured through the doors into the room, and I switched to perception through telekinesis.

Of course, this was the team of the Undersiders. I neutralized all the tendencies of foreign tentacles in my direction, sat down on a high stool and tuned in to watch what was happening. My trip to the bank had covered me, so I could afford to have some fun.

After a few seconds of darkness, which did not bother me at all, a huge number of insects flew into the hall. I casually pushed them away with telekinesis, while interrupting the contact of nearby insects at the same time the tentacles that controlled them. I did not want to disclose my presence. Therefore I decided to display the superpower of neutralizing other people's superpowers, effective only in close proximity to my body.

After another five seconds, when the crowd had already begun to panic, pushing and shoving each other, there was a loud female voice.

"Fifteen minutes, and then we leave. Stay still, keep quiet, and we will leave even before time runs out." Darkness of Grue subsided, left hanging on the windows, and people stopped for a moment to pay attention to the millions of insects that filled the entire hall. - "You can write a claim to the police and then continue your regular day. This is not a movie, this is not a TV show. If you are thinking of becoming a hero, don't be silly. You will either suffer, or someone else will suffer because of you."

The crowd was ready to burst into mournful lamentations and cries for help when I decided to intervene.

"Well, who robs the way you do?" - I exclaimed loudly, attracting surprised looks of robbers and hostages. - "You had to break in through the main entrance, take out the brains of a pair of hostages with a shotgun, and then start beating the manager's head to the table, in an attempt to extract codes and passwords from it. And what are you doing instead? Ugh, amateurs."

Surprisingly, my speech made everyone present calm down. Bank visitors thought about how lucky they were that this bank wasn't robbed by me? The Undersiders, on the other hand, were frozen in shock, trying to figure out who I was, or at least what I was.

"Who the fuck are you?" hissed the Bitch? But I knew her name from official documents was "Hell Hound".

"Just a hostage." I waved, smiling widely. "Don't pay attention to me. It is interesting to me too how this will end."

The girl with the dog mask who had seen my smile moved forward called her back.

"Bitch, follow me. Regent, take care of them."

Hell Hound reluctantly obeyed, heading to one of the doors next to Grue.

"Hmm... My power does not work on him…." exclaimed the surprised Regent.

"Same thing here..." - added Tattletale. "I can't read any information from him."

A swarm of insects rushed toward me, like before. When they flew too close, they fell out of her control and flew away in fear. I just had to help them a little with telekinesis.

"My ability is the neutralization of abilities acting against me. It's amazing when no-one can do anything to stop you, and opposite I can't do nothing too"

A short chuckle from one of the hostages caught my attention. It came from a freckled girl with curly brown hair. Just by looking at her, I immediately recognized Panacea - the very purpose of my visit to the Arkady school. I looked away, for I didn't want to reveal my intentions. Instead I glanced at the dark Grue, whose emotions were conveyed by the form of the black fog emanating from him. I swear, I got the impression that I was watching anime, where such techniques were widespread.

There was an awkward pause that I felt compelled to interrupt, with a question:

"So are you gonna rob yourselves a bank? Or am I so handsome that you forgot about it? Fine, let me introduce myself. Eros Ramazotti, wandering comedian."

"You look like it. The guy has a point though, get busy." - Commanded the Grue.

Bitch, Bug and Tattletale were snatched into one of the rooms where the entrance to the secure vault was located. In my opinion, there was not enough money. Thousand fifty small bills. Grue and Regent remained to control the situation in the hall.

After a couple of minutes, Grue was called, and he disappeared through the same door. Tattletale managed to open the vault, and now the three of them have gutted its contents. The bitch stood keeping eye out, gazing gloomily at the hall.

Five minutes later, most of the contents of the repository migrated into three bags attached to one of the dogs. The robbers climbed into the common room, looking anxiously into the cracks in the darkened windows. They had something to worry about. On the street there were six heroes in shining armor, while another was hiding on the roof. Apparently, there were the Wards - a gathering of juvenile criminals under the patronage of the Protectorate. In the future, they had to assume the responsibility of concealing the truth, letting dust in people's eyes and depicting active heroic activities that no real obstruct to the villains.

Undersiders began to whisper about something among themselves. I was too far away to hear them, and I was too lazy to use force to eavesdrop. And so it was clear that now they are shifting the blame on each other and trying to figure out what to do next.

"We have hostages." - said Bitch. - "If you come in here, my dogs will eat one of them right before your eyes. So back the off!"

This warning made the captives freeze in fear,. Anxious, they devoured with their eyes the three monstrous canines. The ones Bitch controlled and could enhance any way she wanted. They wondered which of them would devour them in the truest sense of the word.

The Undersiders weren't joking around anymore. They gathered about a dozen hostages and kicked out them out of the bank onto the street. After a few seconds, Bitch, Grue, and Regent, along with the dogs, jumped out after him, engaging in battle with the Wards. The Cockroach and Tattletale remained inside, watching what was happening outside through the thinning darkness on the windows.

"I see you have a newcomer." - I turned to the Tattletale, who was actively mucking on a computer. - "What is the name of this girl with all the bugs?"

"I am the Queen of the Zerg." - Replied the aforementioned figure in black, surrounded by buzzing creatures. - "What is your name?" - She turned to me for a moment to look at the unreadable look behind the mask, and then turned back to the window.

"I already said - Eros Ramazotti."

"Sure, sure. I meant what's your name when you're in a mask? The cooler name."

"I don't have a mask." I answered carelessly, swinging my legs. "My abilities aren't very useful, and I have no desire to put on these stupid costumes. Jumping over the roofs at night... bringing retribution in the name of the Moon... That's not my sort of thing. And so everything's good to me as it is."

This time I won the doubting views of all those present. Apparently, the idea that the owner of even the most insignificant superpowers does not want to become a hero or a villain, pretty much broke their worldview pattern. In that regard, the hostages did not differ from the robbers.

The next five minutes in the bank, nothing happened. From the street came the sounds of battle: shouts, growls, shots, blows of massive objects on the walls, in general, people continue had fun as they can. Tattletale, stopped raping the computer and rushed towards the interior of the bank.

"It remains to do something else. I'll be back soon. Look after here for everyone." - She threw the bewildered Queen Zerg.

"What? No ... Tattletale! Hell!" - It seemed to me that in the voice of the robber flashed notes of despair. She again rushed to the window, and then, the chaos of the battle reached us.

Something echoed loudly, and one of the windows shattered to smithereens. Fortunately, the fragments flew close, just falling asleep a couple of meters of floor. The darkness covering the doorway dissipated, and flashes of light appeared.

To my surprise, the Zerg Queen paused and almost stretched out on the floor, clutching her head. I did not see any external damage to her. But using the force, I noticed how several threads connecting the Queen Zerg's symbiote with Panacea are pulsating. Apparently, she did something with the insects planted on her. Overpowering herself, the robber rushed to another part of the hall, peering through the windows.

I continued to monitor the situation in the district, and therefore I managed to notice how Aegis used something like a light-noise grenade. I immediately closed my eyes, and created darkness under my eyelids, and cover myself up with telekinesis, in order not to go blind or deaf.

As if taking the blast as a signal, Panacea abruptly pulled away from the spot and rushed behind the bar. The emboldened hostages, too, rushed to somewhere, trying to escape from the hall. The Zerg Queen was too busy trying to cope with the effects of the explosion to notice this. At that moment, the Grue and the Regent finally dealt with Kid Win. The Queen of the Zergs giggled disgustingly, watching this, and completely ignoring what was happening behind her back.

"What's so funny, psycho?" - Asked Panacea, waving a fire extinguisher. It turns out that she was looking for it behind the bar.

The blow threw the robber to the side. But she managed to dodge slightly, and therefore remained with a whole skull. A small cat fight ensued, in which the victims were a fire extinguisher and a telephone, for some unknown reason, pulled out by a Panacea.

"What have you done to me?" I heard the cry of the Queen Zerg.

I decided to intervene and save Panacea when another character appeared on the scene. Having broken a window, a girl flew into the hall. As soon as she appeared, her symbiont's tentacles literally dug into the heads of others. I almost effortlessly repelled the encroachments in my address and jumped off the stool, going to walk to this strange company.

Apparently, having recognised the newcomer, the Queen of the Zerg whipped out a knife and put it to Panacea's throat, going behind her back.

"It looks like we're at a dead end." Powerlessly noticed the heroine, not taking off her eyes from sparkling blade, which was in dangerous proximity to the carotid artery.

"Right." Queen Zerg answered, clutching the hostage to herself, as if she wished to mate with her ... or lay eggs in her.

"Why don't you relax?" I intervened in the confrontation of intense views. "Why are you risking your life here at all? For the money that Bitch's dogs has already dragged to the docks? Or maybe for the sake of fame and honor?

"Do not come!" - Queen Zerg once again squeezed Panacea by her breast, and I took it as a challenge - she attacked my prey.

"What are you afraid of? Your abilities already not working. I can hardly make it worse."

"So that's the matter" I heard the voice of Tattletale behind my back. "Panacea ... how could I miss her?"

"Do not come close." This time the heroine threatened, clearly taking Tattletale as the enemy. At my relation, she has not yet decided, embarrassed by the reaction of the Queen Zerg.

"I forgot to ask you, Glory Hole."

"So is that her name?" - I was delighted. - "She obviously did not read comics. After the epic appearance, the mask should loudly and clearly introduce herself so that everyone present knows how to ask for help or beg for mercy. Admit it, it's not very convenient to shout something like: Hey you, help me."

"Shut up!" This time the expression in the voice of the heroine just went through the roof. - "My name is Glory Girl." In a fit of feelings, she struck the table next to her, smashing the marble countertop into the rubble.

"Huh! And I am Eros Ramazzotti, a wandering comedian."

"And why does it seems to me that 'wandering comedian' is your name as a mask?" - muttered the Queen of the Zerg. I just laughed at such a statement.

"So what are we going to do?" - Intervened in the conversation Tattletale. "We have a hostage, and if you attack us, then Panacea will die with a slit on throat."

"If she suffers, then you all will die with a far more painful and prolonged death. So I suggest you all lie down on the floor, put your hands behind your head and not resist while I kick you."

"Wow! This lady has all the qualities of BDSM Mistress." I said, once again settling on the table. In such situation, it is better to sit higher to have time to react. For Panacea, I was not afraid, because by telekinesis I controlled the position of the blade.

"Shut up, it relates to you too." Glory Girl snapped.

"Why should I be beaten? I am one of the hostages."

"Then why didn't you run away with everyone?"

I looked around the hall and made sure that there was no one left in the bank except for us.

"Well ... I'm too responsible for that. Without me, you would have killed each other long ago."

Heroes and villains exchanged glances, silently acknowledging that I was right.

"But I still think that the two of you are in the greatest danger here." - Again took up Tattletale. "I am a mastermind and can read your minds. If you do not give up, then I will tell everyone about your dirtiest secrets."

"Ha! Whatever you say here will only increase my fame." Glory Girl replied haughtily.

"Actually, I meant your sister. After that, she will have to commit suicide."

Panacea twitched, but the Zerg Queen was alert and prevented her from escaping. A drop of blood appeared on the skin of Panacea.

"Do not move."

"Oh, you evil creature!" Glory has turned out. But apart from being able to clench and unclench her fists, she was not capable of anything. However, after a moment, grim determination flashed through her gaze. "There is another solution. I can just kill you all, and then this information will not get anywhere."

At Panacea, such a proposal did not have a calming effect. She continued trying to break free, but the villain kept her as in a steel grip. Apparently this was her reaction to a worsening headache.

"Panacea is a lesbian." Began speech Tattletale. "She wants to have sex with Glory Hole, and therefore hates her boyfriend. Therefore, she started healing only because she wants to impress her sister."

Panacea went limp, and her limp look buried in the ground.

"Lesbian? Fu-fu." Gave Glory girl. "This is, of course, disgusting, but somehow I will survive. Is that all you wanted to say?" She turned to Tattletale. "I think now is the time to knock out all your brains."

Glory Girl has already taken a step forward, when I decided to intervene in this pick.

"What is the funny thing, Glory Girl made her a pervert. She had so long and stubbornly raped her step-sister into her brain with her abilities, that Panacea now, figuratively speaking, had a half-skull hole in her head. Yes, her brain has emerged long ago, and instead of it there are worms of admiration for perfect and ideal Glory are crawling around. And even funnier is that she did it consciously, just trying to find out what would happen."

My impromptu is clearly a success. The eyes of Panacea and Glory simultaneously widened. I didn't know if my assumption was true or not, but it didn't matter. The main thing is what impression these words made on Panacea.

"I'll kill you!"

With a loud cry, Glory rushed toward me, raising her fist and aiming at her head. I elegantly deviated and with swift blow to the jaw sent this fool into a knockout. I was a little cautious, so I didn't hit very hard. But at the same time I squeezed both carotid arteries to her, so Glory girl crashed to the floor and lost consciousness.

"I defended myself." I raised both hands up. "And she was going to kill me."

"Did you knock out Glory with one blow?" Asked the Queen Zerg with shocked expression.

"I told you that I can neutralize any abilities. So when I hit her, I turned off the shield with a simple touch. In the end, without her superpowers, this is just a spoiled, quarrelsome juvenile bitch.

"Do not dare to talk about Glory!" Panacea cried out. Tears streamed down her face. Queen Zerg released hug, and the girl collapsed to the floor.

"It is necessary to kill the insects sitting on her body." Said jumped Tattletale. Panacea did not resist, while the two villains committed on her some kind of manipulation.

I looked at the drooping Panacea and noticed that even now a thick tentacle comes from the Glory symbiote inside her head. I think it can be used. Now while her world has collapsed, I can take center stage in it.

"The fact that you are a lesbian, there is nothing irreparable." I said, kneeling before Panacea and touching her face with my hand. A pair of tear-stained eyes stared at me. "You just need to find a normal guy and have sex with him. A couple of weeks of daily fucking, and you will forget that you once dreamed of lesbian games." - From the side of Tattletale there was a laugh. "I can help you with this" - This time there was a laugh from both villains.

"No" Panacea recoiled.

"I understand you're still obsessed with your sister. Let me show you what her power does to you. I can block any ability. Now I will turn off her effects on you."

I got up, walked around Panacea, and pressed my chest against her back. After that, with a quick movement of the tentacles, I cut the tentacle entering her head and gave the order to the symbiont to add the unattended stump to myself. After a few seconds, the transplant operation was completed, and I gained control of Amy Dallon's feelings. A few more moments later, the adoration of Glory in her head was replaced by the adoration of me. True, in order not to reveal myself, I set it at the very minimum.

"Look at her." I pointed to the Glory sprawled on the floor. "What is she?"

Panacea stared in amazement at her step-sister, seeing her for the first time as she really was.

"She's ... ordinary."

"Exactly. Just a whimsical bitch who likes to rape people's brains. Her power reflects the fact that she wished worship herself, but at the same time she never had enough qualities to earn that respect." Panacea turned and stared in amazement in my face. "Now you know what she really is, so you can resist her effects. And if you want, I can clear your brain for you."

Now, watching the face of Panacea straight in front of me, I noticed that in fact she was very cute. Simply, she always hid it behind her aura of loneliness, fatigue and unwillingness to use cosmetics. At the same time with all the pink nonsense that I threw at her, I scanned the symbiont, trying to figure out how she can heal someone at all. Okay, this can then be dealt later. It will be enough to tear off a couple of limbs from someone, and then suggest to Panacea to sew them back.

I got up and went to Tattletale. She and the Zerg Queen stood at the exit watching us.

"You are funny." I smiled to them. "If there is a desire to meet, you can call me."

I offered Tattletale a gilded business card with my name and phone. Yesterday, while I was suffering from boredom at a real estate agency, I ordered a couple of dozen of these. Tattletale looked at me in surprise.

"What are you trying to flirt with me?" - She asked. The tentacles of her symbiont flickered around, trying to count at least a bit of information from me.

"Take the card, fool." I whispered in her ear.

Tattletale bounced back a little, looking at me with round eyes with horror. Her eyes darted from side to side, while her consciousness tried to lay down two plus two on her own, without using superpower. Finally, her eyes settled on the business card, and she grabbed it like a lifeline, after which she quickly hid it in her pocket. I smiled at her with my trademark smile of a crazy maniac, and she startled again.

"Tattletale , are you coming?" Shouted the Queen of the Zerg, who retreated to exchange a few words with her comrades.

"Yes ... yes, let's go."

The Undersiders gathered in a heap, each of them looked at me suspiciously, and then they jumped on the dogs and hid in the nearest alley, after which the darkness released by Grue flooded the whole neighborhood area.

I laughed softly and went back to Panacea. My phrase, which caused Tattletale to panic, was said with the same accent and emotions that sounded in her when Tattletale gave her business card to the Queen of Zergs four days ago. I thought about creating my own team, and the Undersiders looked like suitable candidates. Grue was a weak leader, so I chose Tattletale as an agent of influence. Her position is to think a lot and make the right decisions.

Returning to Panacea, I helped her to move to the couch. The darkness still shrouded us, so that on her own she would not have gotten to it.

"Don't you want to help Glory? She is still unconscious." I came on a petition callus, consolidating the conclusions made by my victim.

"No! I do not want to see her. I ... I ... she thought ... and this creature …" Panacea buried in my shoulder and sobbed. In response, I sat her down on my lap and hugged her tight. Well, the control shot in the head was successful.

Alas, they did not give me success. Literally ten minutes later, the darkness disappeared, and the police, the PRT and the heroes of the Protectorate descended into the building.

Panacea was asked to heal the heroes, starting with Glory, but in response, she freaked out and refused to treat at least someone. Five minutes later, Mom Photon flew in and took away her two daughters, not even letting me say goodbye to Amy.

PRT pushed me, trying to figure out who I was, but I introduced myself as a classmate of Panacea, with whom we had to go on a date. As a confirmation of my words, I presented a school certificate, which I was discharged yesterday. The investigators did not pay attention to the date the document was issued, so they immediately reclassified me from suspects as hostages.

During the interrogation, I told everything as it was, except that I blamed Undersiders on the state of Glory. I hope this fool is smart enough to keep her mouth shut. Still, she attacked me completely without restraint, and if were an ordinary person in my place, this blow would have spread my brains all over the hall.

With all this canary, I was released only after six in the evening. Moreover, I was in a state of unsteady so much that I fell asleep, barely getting to the apartment..

I woke up at one a.m. in the morning, full of strength and desire to break someone into hundreds of small bloody pieces. Anxiety symptom. Therefore, I decided to take a break in the patrol, turned over on the other side and continued to sleep.

At six in the morning I woke up completely. Having completed morning exercise, I began to train my abilities. I was especially interested in a piece of tentacles stolen from Glory. Although new tentacle got accustomed to the body of my symbiont, only it possessed the ability to influence people's consciousness. All the rest of my tentacles still showed only the abilities already known to them. Apparently, I will have to treat the trophy with care. The ability to shuffle in the minds of the enemy without killing them is a pretty valuable thing.

School started at eight in the morning, so I didn't have to do much experiments. Catching up with a bag of textbooks, I rushed to school. As halfway passed, I remember I don't have any notebooks or pens with me, but it was too late to rush around in their search.

At school, they brought me back to the director again, gave me a couple of papers to sign, and then took me to class.

"Children, as of today, a new student is studying in your class. Introduce yourself."

"Hello. My name is Eros Ramazzotti. Nice to meet you."

Amy Dallon, aka Panacea looked at me with bulging eyes. Victoria Dallon, aka Glory blinked, burning her eyes with hatred. I smiled smugly at both of them, after which I took a seat not far from Panacea.

Communication with the kids was fun. After the first lesson at recess, Panacea approached me, and a little shyly asked:

"Can you do it again?" She was obviously referring to the tentacle of Glory, which again brazenly poked her head.

"Of course." I smiled, then pulled Amy to me and kissed. There were enthusiastic and angry cries all around.

In the meantime, I amputated one more tentacle from Glory, to which she jerked as if from a current discharge. Surrounding blamed her on jealousy of her sister, and I just mockingly smirked, looking Victoria in the eye. Amy followed my gaze, saw a grimace on her sister's face, and instead of pushing me away or slapping me, she clung to me and kissed me. This time the enthusiastic cries were accompanied by envious. Hehe hehe.

I managed to quickly integrate into the local society, especially since I saw perfectly who is the mask, and therefore immediately adjusted to the presence of an already established company. I think it's quite natural for the Wards to stick together.

Yesterday's story of a bank robbery and my participation in it also became public. I didn't hide the presence of my superpower, but insisted that I didn't want to be either a villain or a hero. The people groaned, gasped, but did not climb into my soul.

After the end of classes, the whole company decided to celebrate my admission, visiting a cafe. Amy ignored Victoria all day, which was already the reason for the rumors, especially considering the scene of jealousy and kiss. Using telekinesis, I overheard the story that Glory was secretly in love with me, but I preferred her sister to her. And now the girls are at loggerheads, and Glory, although angry at me, has not yet left her hope of sleeping with me behind the Gallant's back. He also heard these fabrications and was not delighted with them.

But no matter how the passions raged in personal relationships, the company as a whole kept together, so we got to the party with the whole crowd. Sitting at a long table, we began to make orders. I offered to order anything with a broad gesture, promising to pay for the entire company, in which I unexpectedly competed with Din Stansfield, who until now had been the only one who could shuffle in this way. As a result, we agreed that we would pay the bill equally for two.

The conversations were on various topics, and the already famous Black Cloak soon surfaced. True, there was a specific discussion here, because the majority of those present were members of the Wards, and therefore adhered to the official position of the PRT.

"Something I do not heard any news about the Black Cloak for the second day" - Noticed Dennis, known to the public as Clockblocker.

"Actually, the night before he killed Night and Fog." - Dean noticed.

"What?" All those present except for me turned his head and stared in amazement at Dean.

"How did you know?" - Carlos's hoarse voice rang out. In it I recognized Aegis, who yesterday brought a lot of problems to the Undersiders.

"Well ... uh-uh ... these are rumors." - Dean somehow excused . It became clear that he overheard it somewhere on the base of the PRT.

"Damn! Night and Fog were very strong masks. Eight rating. And he killed them so that no one knew about it?" - Chris was surprised, he is Kid Win, who lost most of his equipment yesterday.

"I read on the Internet that an inscription appeared on one of the houses in the southern part of the city that Black Cloak killed Night and Fog there." The girl with glasses reported. She had no strength, and got into this company most likely because of the beautiful body. From time to time almost all the guys looked at her, except for Dean.

"Well, on the fence is also written." - Kid Win replied discontentedly, switching to a vase with ice cream.

"And there was a drug store in this house."

"Huh, then this is more like the truth."

The participants looked at each other, assessing the news.

"And tonight what happened?"

"Nothing. Not even a single death has been recorded." Again enlighten all Dean.

"Maybe he died? Or overstrained in a battle with masks?" I introduced my five cents.

"About the death is unlikely. But if he was wounded, then he is healing in secluded place." - Dennis supported my idea. - "Or maybe he has a day off."

"Yeah, religion forbids killing on Thursdays." My phrase caused a few dark laughs.

Then my phone rang, and with surprise I pulled it out of the case. Who could it be? I only gave my number to Tattletale. The number was naturally unfamiliar, because the notebook on the phone was empty.

"Hello, a wandering comedian on the phone."

"Eros, we need your help." A breathless voice sounded from the tube.

"To whom is it?" I clarified.

"Undersiders" Tattletale justified my worst hopes. It was her voice that came from the phone.

"Are you sure calling right address?" - I doubted.

"This is Bakuda."

"Who?"

"Bakuda. Lung's girlfriend from ABB. She took people hostage, implanting bombs at them, and is now sending them on us, undermining everything and everyone at every opportunity."

Dean, sitting on my right hand, also listened to the conversation, catching every word. Well, apparently, I will have to help. True, how can I help them in my role as Eros? I can provide only moral support. However, here I have a crowd of superheroes. So I will let them help.

"Where are you?"

"Depot, north of the docks. Here ... a lot of vaults or garages, I do not know how they are called correctly. In general, if you focus on the explosions, you will definitely find us."

"I'll think of what can I do. But honestly, my options are limited."

"Got it."

Tattletale hung up, and I looked at the audience, staring at me with open mouths.

"Who was that?" Could not resist Kid Win.

"Undersiders" I did not deny the obvious. Dean heard the whole conversation to the last word.

"Do you communicate with the Undersiders?"

"No. Yesterday I gave them my business card. I have a habit of giving business cards to those who laugh or interest me."

"And what did they need from you?"

"I did not understand. Tattletale said that someone named as Bakuda took people as hostage, put bombs in them and now sending them to enemies, using as Banelings."

"Banelings? What is it?"

"These are such units in a computer game. They explode upon contact with the enemy."

"We are not talking about games, but about living people." - Carlos was outraged.

"Well, now you know as much as I do, for the most part..." The masked ones silently exchanged glances, united by their common secret. I looked at Dean: "Do you have the phone number of one of the Guardians?" I hinted transparently.

"Well, actually, we do," he admitted.

"Then I propose to go home and call the heroes. And then let them do whatever they like."

"Why should we go?" The girl in glasses said, surprised. Sharing her confusion, the others looked at each other. They weren't sure about this. I began a new explanation:

"Those who wish can stay here himself, but I will personally go to the depot. Since I was invited to take part in this, not seeing everything with my own eyes just doesn't feel right."

"I'm with you." Panacea grabbed my arm.

"… Good," I replied after a short pause.

I got up from the table, and everyone else began to gather too.

"Tell the Wards that I will wait for them near the school in fifteen minutes."

"Good," Dean nodded with a small grin.

We quickly paid our due and fled from there. Fifteen minutes later, I and Panacea stood near the back door of the school. Aegis and Glory Girl descended from the sky. After another minute, Gallant, Clockblocker and Kid Win came out of school. Two more heroes who yesterday fought with the Undersiders were not with us.

"How will we get to the depot?" Gallant asked.

"We take a bus?" I joked.

He did not pick up on the joke. "Too long."

"You are so boring." - I sighed. - "Anyways, if the PRT does not have its own transport, then you can take a taxi. Aegis and Glory Girl can fly there themselves. Surely, by the time we get to the place, they will be knitting them all." - Glory lifted her nose. - "Or they will wander about the territory, looking for something incomprehensible."

"Maybe you know what to look for?" - Glory rebelled, for once admitting the fact of my existence next to her.

I shrugged indifferently and, accompanied by Panacea, went to the taxi stand. Yesterday I had seen at least three cars waiting for customers there. The Wards caught up with us in half a minute. As I suggested, Glory Girl and Aegis flew forward, leaving us to travel on our own.

"How did you guess that I am a mask?" - Gallant turned to me.

"I told you that I have the ability to block other people's abilities acting on me?" - Knight nodded. - "From the first second of our meeting, I felt your attempts to get into my brain."

"Sorry." - Down the Gallant. - "These abilities act on their own."

"But only you and your girlfriend strive to get into the brains of others. Nevermind. You better tell me what the PRT leadership is thinking about our outing?"

"Nothing. They do not know."

"I get what you mean. What, even Aegis decided to hide everything?"

"He said that for the time nothing is known exactly. As soon as he is convinced of the presence of danger, he will immediately contact the leader."

"Well, let's hope this helps."

Taxi drivers, who saw our company, were a little astonished. And having learned that we are talking about going to the docks to fight the villains, two of the three refused to go anywhere at all. As a result, I, Panacea, Kid Win, Clockblocker and Gallant crammed into one car, which was piloted by a courageous Indian, a former cab driver. From the way he drove I though he never even suspected that his car had brakes.

But in the end, we got to the place like a breeze. Trinity boys fit in the back seat, and I sat on the front seat with Panacea on my knees, confusing her with my erection. And what? I'm not iron. And besides, it's all part of my insidious plan.

Getting out of the car near the station, we passed through the deserted streets. The closure of the port had had a negative effect on the city's transportation system. Without the flow of goods, the channels became useless as the transport company did not want to spend money on them anymore. Without transport, the refinery was finally shut down. They say that with the last money the plant owners hired assassins to kill the entire management staff of the company managing the railways. They allegedly wanted to buy the plant for a pittance, for which purpose they specifically put the railroad in disrepair. As a result, some were blown up, others were sent to jail, others went bankrupt themselves, and a good third of the city fell into neglect.

Now we were walking along the street, the pavement on which was in an amazing state of preservation, if only we did not consider heaps of garbage inflicted by the wind and homeless. Transportation did not go here, and the roads are well preserved. In the rest of the city, they have long been broken, as there was never enough money for repairs.

Glory and Aegis descended from sky right in front of us.

"Found something?" - I asked.

"No." - Aegis shook his head.

"Okay, then I'll call our informants. And do not try to eavesdrop."

"You're hiding something?" - Astonished Gallant.

"Of course. At least the position of the informals. They hit you pretty well yesterday, and I don't want to be the reason for your attempts to take revenge. Otherwise, the next time when the villains will kill civilians, neither I nor you will know about it."

All those present frowned, and Kid Win turned away in general, portraying offended pride. I went to the next lane and called the saved number.

"Hello, Eros?"

"And who did you expect?"

"Damn, my power is not working on you, and I feel as if I'm talking to myself."

"Where are you? Or rather, where are Bakuda and the hostages?"

"We are not far from the elevator. We were surrounded on all sides, but we were able to hide. I do not know, however, how long we can hide from them."

"It's funny. Homeless people are hiding in the docks so that no police raid can find them. Lock yourself in some room, and pretend that you are dead drunk. And who the fuck will find you."

"Well, we almost did. But we can not sit here forever. We need food and water."

"So you can stay alive couple days, and where is Bakuda?"

"Yes exactly. She settled south of us in the premises of a factory where plastic objects created or something similar. There she gathered her followers from the ABB and some hostages. The rest of the hostages are sitting closer to the docks or looking for us. About once every fifteen minutes, she blows up one of them, so that the others look better."

As if in confirmation of these words, somewhere in the distance something has exploded.

"Four people per hour." I figured. "What do you think what will happen before: will you die of thirst, or she has finished off the hostages?"

"Very funny." Tattletale got angry. "Are you not sorry for the hostages?"

"To me? Let me think ... no. Generally, I do not care. But I would crush Bakuda without thinking. She doesn't know how to work with human resources, and this is a sin."

"Do your Ward friends know about your position?"

"No, but for them I give a more politically correct version. What can you say about bombs?"

"They are ... weird. Some explode like regular bombs. And some form areas of the distorted laws of physics. There can freeze matter, stop time, change a living being. In general, a lot of incomprehensible mysticism. The bombs themselves are located either in the nasopharynx or in the abdominal cavity. I do not know how to neutralize them. Power is just silent."

"I see. In general, sit and do not hang out. If I need your help, I will call."

"Good. Hang up."

I put the phone in my pocket and went to the Wards, who were staring at me in disbelief. Only Panacea looked at me with love with his eyes. Glory Girl's tentacles works good, and now I have a spare tentacle. And she will do another attempt at my prey - then a third one will appear.

"What was that explosion?" - Aegis asked when the distance between us decreased to five meters.

"One of the banelings worked. Bakuda blows up one hostage every fifteen minutes so that the rest of them will more thoroughly search for the Undersiders."

"He is the beast!"

"Run!"

"Need to save them."

The opinions of the crowd were distinguished by surprising unanimity.

"Here you are idiots." I could not resist. "As soon as she learns that we are here, she will then immediately send a group of hostages to us, pleading for salvation, and then will explode them with us."

"But we cannot stand here and wait for something that is not clear while she is killing people." - Exclaimed the Gallant.

"How can we not? That is what we are doing now." The team looked as if I knocked the air out of them, and then bashed their heads with a shovel. - "I, of course, is not an expert in these issues, but in my opinion I would now take a place higher, track down Bakuda with the help of Tattletale's abilities, and then would shoot down this idiot's head with a sniper rifle."

"We can't kill people." Glory objected. "We are heroes. What will they say about us?"

"That you saved the lives of innocent citizens? No, they will surely say that you brutally killed a law-abiding mask, and then mercilessly blew up several hundred random witnesses. Well, in the end they blame you for the destruction of real estate worth millions of dollars.

"Where did you get such nonsense in your head?" - Surprised Clockblocer. - "You talk like a villain."

"I say, as a reasonable person, sometimes watching TV and having my own head on my shoulders. But it is not about me now, but about you. You are the heroes. So save people. And I'm just a weak useless civil. I will play here the role of an impartial witness and mediator in negotiations with the Undersider. In general, now I will tell you everything I know about Bakuda, and then you yourself will make decisions."

I blatantly ignored the condemning look of those present. After that, a small meeting was held at which I set out intelligence data, and Aegis decided to move straight in the direction of Bakuda, where he could work with her jointly. I wanted to make a facepalm from such a tactical genius, but I resisted, instead I hugged Panacea.

Then we quickly rushed forward. Aegis and Glory looked out for enemies from above, and we tried to get to the future place of the battle by the shortest route. Quite naturally, after a few minutes, we stumbled upon the ABB patrol, which emerged from the alley. Well at least they were tempted by a bright target in the face of the flying Aegis, and all together they shot at him. With a torn chest, he fell down, almost straight at us. Gallant and Kid Win quickly orient, grabbed their commander and dragged him away, hiding from the bullets. I grabbed Panacea and carried her along. But even so, I had to divert a few bullets flying at me. And without me, the team would lost their only healer.

Glory Girl saved us, flying out from behind the roof and bringing down a squall of their charges on the bandits. If she had ever hit it at the same time, it would be quite good. And so, we and the bandits rushed in different directions and hid in buildings, knocking windows and doors.

While Panacea was repairing our brilliant leader, I expounded my expert assessment of the team's actions.

"As you have all seen, your plan is the shortest path to the cemetery. You have even not see Bakuda, and our commander is already dying. Glory is also good. She could kill all the attackers, but instead only scared them slightly.

"I'm not a killer!" Replied the heroine, flying into a broken window.

"Come on? Consider that with your illiterate actions you have just nearly killed Aegis. These Nazis were walking along the street that you were supposed to control."

"I was just a little distracted ..."

"That's enough." I pinned, stopping the debate.

"I'm calling in PRT" croaked Aegis.

Panacea rather quickly reanimated him, especially since his regeneration actively helped. I also watched this process, learnding the method of impact.

The leader pulled the phone out and stared at it in disbelief.

"No signal. How can it possible? You recently called the Undersiders." He looked indignantly at me, as if I was the blame.

"The signal exists" I replied, checking my device. It cost almost a thousand dollars, but it worth itself one hundred percent ... dollars. "Throw your Chinese shit in the trash. If the PRT has no money for normal phones, then ask the Gallant to buy you something in the nearest stall."

"This is a special phone designed by the best technicians of the PRT" Aegis did not give up, tormenting the apparatus. "It is protected from interference, works on military frequencies, and the battery lasts for a week."

"On military frequencies?" I grinned. "Then everything is clear. Surely Bakuda has built a noise generator that operates at the PRT frequencies. A civilian frequences was not affected."

"Take this." The knight extended his phone to the aegis. "This is my personal one."

"I told you ten times that you can't take a personal phone on an assignment." Aegis was outraged, after which he look puzzled at the device, showing three bars on the signal reception indicator.

"Then you can fly to headquarters yourself. And we'll wait here."

In the distance, there was another detonation. The guards exchanged glances, and Aegis began frantically dialing a number on the phone. After five minutes of talking, he dropped the call and gave the expected verdict:

"We have to sit here and wait until the protectorate masks arrive."

After a couple of seconds, more explosions were heard: boom, boom, boo-boom, bububum..

"It seems that Bakuda just got eight less banelings." I summarized. Watching how conscience struggles with rules and orders was very entertaining.

In the meantime, the five thugs sitting in the building on the other side of the street took courage and launched an attack. I did not forget about them and watched their actions out of the corner of my eye. However, the rest of the Wards met a grenade flying through the window, with an expression of genuine surprise.

A strange-shaped piece of iron punched through the glass, bounced off the concrete partition and fell right under the feet of the Clockblocker. He literally sat on some reflexes and covered grenade with his hand, stopping time.

"Run!" He shouted, taking off.

I glanced at the grenade and noticed a red light escaping from the thin cracks on its body. We followed the Clockblocker with the whole crowd, running into the next room. The walls here were load-bearing, so there was at least twenty centimeters of brick and concrete in them.

"You used your ability surprisingly well." I noticed.

Riser just nodded dumbfounded. His face was hidden by a mask, but under it he must have been as white as chalk. Meanwhile, the gangsters, without waiting for the explosion, ran into the building and began watering everything around with bursts of machine guns. At that moment, the time freeze effect stopped, and the grenade hooted hollowly. Shooting immediately stopped.

Looking into the doorway, I saw the bandits lying on the ground, clutching their heads and trying to get to their feet.

"Kick them!" I exclaimed, wisely moving away to the side and skipping those who want to engage in close combat. The Wards reacted to my cry as to the command "Fas" and began to kick the bedridden ones, calling them to obedience.

After a couple of minutes, the five thugs were tied up and seated in a row along the wall. The grenade was stunning and did not cause any serious harm to their health. While Aegis unsuccessfully tried to dislodge the location of Bakuda from the members of the ABB, I conducted an inspection of the captured weapons. Most of all I liked the short-barreled Steyr AUG with a silencer and a telescopic sight and a well-worn but comfortable Sig Sauer pistol with a caliber of nine millimeters. While no one was looking in my direction, I put the gun in the inner pocket of my jacket, and hooked my rifle to the belt and slung it behind my back, pretending that I always had it there. It took another couple of minutes to gather five full magazines for a rifle and a scatter of ammunition from a pistol in a small pouch. Alas, there was no spare clip from him.

"What do we do?" Aegis asked when it became clear that the bandits are not going to say anything.

"Shoot them and go on." Oddly enough, this offer came not from me, but from Glory. Today she was generally quiet all day. I, of course, had not seen her before, but for some reason it seemed to me that she usually tries her best to attract attention and prove her exclusivity.

"We are heroes" Twisted Aegis. "You said that we do not kill." He remembered her phrase, said to my proposal to shoot Bakuda.

"We can say that the Undersiders killed them." She shrugged her shoulders.

"I propose to shoot knees each of them " I made my rationalization proposal. "So they will not be able to escape or help Bakuda."

"I will sue you to tribunal." growled one of the gangsters, with hatred looking at my rifle. Apparently, before it belonged to him. "For the attack, and for theft."

Boo! This time the explosion rang far closer. Aegis looked in that direction, then grabbed one of the captured pistols and made five shots. Five knee cups scattered to smithereens.

"Heal them so they won't die from blood loss." He ordered to Panacea, overshouting swears and curses issued by gangsters."We will not wait for reinforcements. Every minute of delay is someone's life."

Two minutes later, our company rushed forward. Aegis and Glory soared again in the air, this time already observing the surroundings more closely. After ten minutes of running, when Panacea, Clockblocker and I began to choke, we reached a small square, in the center of which stood a shapeless crowd of hostages. Previously, there was a fenced storage area in the open air, but then someone rode a bulldozer, demolishing a fence that stood around the perimeter. And this area was formed, littered with rubbish and remains of a fence.

In the buildings near the square, I noticed several groups of armed men. Of course, I didn't talk about them, but after receiving a preventive bullets in the chest, Aegis became much more careful. So he came down to us and led through one of the buildings, intending to take a safe observant position.

Here from one of the rooms, by which we passed, a homeless-looking man popped out.

"Help me!" he cried, completely ignoring all our attempts to disguise. "I have a bomb in my head."

For me, this fact was not a discovery, but the reaction of others was funny. Some of the "heroes" rushed forward to silence the blunt hostage, and some rushed back to escape from a possible explosion. Naturally, I and Panacea were in the second group.

"Do not yell." Knight hissed, prescribing a preventive punch to his liver. "You will be first blown up by a ram if they find out that we are near you."

"Get out! Dump nah. I want to live." Sharply changed his desires idiot, continuing to yell at the top of his lungs. The second punch to the liver, this time stronger, turned the screams into almost safe moans.

"Calm down, you idiot. Shut up and lie down." The third punch brought the bum into the correct state of consciousness - he whined and curled up into a ball.

"We need to find out how works bomb in his head." Said Aegis, tying up a resisting hostage. The stock of plastic handcuffs so far allowed to spend them without restriction. "Kid Win, can you do this?"

"Yes. But the help of Panacea also does not hurt."

Together they began to inspect the sacrifice of Bakuda.

"The bomb is installed in the nasopharynx." explained Panacea. "It is fastened with special tendrils, and if you try to remove it, it will surely explode."

"I can not do anything. If he was lying on a workbench in a lab, I could try to extract it out. But by picking in the homeless' nose, I do not understand anything.

The bum was trying to struggle, but he caught the Gallant's warning look and calmed down.

"You can cut off his nose" I made another provocative offer. At this rate, by the end of the day I will make frostbitten maniacs from the heroes. And no, I do not have time.

I looked out the window to admire the sky. Half shimmered with all shades of red, and the second was already filled with darkness. Autumn, after all, darkens early.

"No! Please do not, I want to live." The homeless man whispered, having finally understood the basic principles of disguise.

"Eros, you can turn off the bomb with your power."

"I can try, but for this I need to touch it. And for this you have to cut off his nose."

The peasant looked around in agony, correctly understood the glances directed at him, after which he jerked to the side and as a fish leaped at the window, punching it with his head. We were on the second floor, so he would have some chances to survive ... if he had not his legs and arms tied. And so he fell on the asphalt by head, after which the bomb in his head detonated.

The building was pretty shaken up, and then frost began to spread across the floor and wall. We barely managed to get out of the room when the building cracked deafeningly and began to fall apart. Fortunately, only part of the wall collapsed and the bulkheads on the ground floor closest to the explosion. The gangsters in the next building screamed and rushed in our direction, clearly intending to verify the cause of the unexpected explosion.

"I think we need a more sane patient." Philosophically I noticed.

"Doesn't his death touch you at all?" Panacea was outraged.

"You know, Friedrich Schiller in one of his plays said: The gods themselves are not able to fight against stupidity. He was right one hundred percent. Therefore, I never fight against someone else's stupidity and do not sympathize with it."

"Yes, you just scared him to death." Objected Clockblocker.

"I can't not argue with that." I agreed. "Then we will entrust to you the the honor of persuading the next test subject about the need to lose his nose and the front of his skull in order to develop a ways of fighting bombs."

"But this is not forever. We have a Panacea, which can return everything as it was."

"You can tell them about it. Let's see if you can overcome human stupidity. By the way, someone running to us.

In the surviving dusty window, it was clear that another group of bandits was running across the square to us. One of them swung and launched a grenade to the window. I had only to correct it's flight a little with telekinesis so that it hit the frame right in the middle of the window, bounced off and fell among a rushing group of bandits. Those rushed in all directions, but did not have time to take a couple of steps, as the bomb exploded, stopping time within a radius of five meters. From the ten people, only one managed to slip out of the area of eternity. The rest are frozen in a bluish haze like flies in amber.

What is most interesting, the current state of this area was not a consequence of the action of the symbiont. The multidimensional impact was felt only for a split second, and then it was the usual physics of multidimensional space. A small breakdown created by the symbiont, that turned into such a trap, just following the laws of nature. I need to beware of such things. Otherwise, I may not have time to get out of the affected area.

While the heroes were watching the fate that befell the members of the ABB, on the other side of the building another group broke right through the wall. It seems that they also used some of the creations of Bakuda. At least the wall crumbled down, and did not fly a stone crumble in our direction, as would have happened in a normal explosion.

There were shots from machine guns, and again we all rushed into the next room. There was a great view of the square, but the wall between this room and the one served as an obstacle for bullets.

I pulled the rifle off my shoulder and fired a short burst into the hole. This move was a completely surprise to the attackers, since they relied more on non-lethal superpowers. The attack choked, and we were able to safely reach the shelter. Even Glory did not want to go forward heroically and catch the bullets from the machine gun. Instead, she rushed to the collapsed wall, intending to fly out into the street and come in from the flank.

I controlled all the actions of the enemies, and noticed with irritation that they were again going to throw a bomb at us. Fortunately, the place near the door was occupied by Kid Win, who noticed the movement of the enemy and fired in their direction a whole line of his pistols - the only useful equipment he had. One of the shots accidentally hit the flying grenade, throwing it back. I didn't even have to interfere.

A moment later, there was a dull sound like from a bursting canister, and I felt the distortion of a spherical space spreading from the grenade. It reached our room and stopped only a little crossing the wall. In order not to risk, I threw everyone out of range by telekinesis. I did it in time, because all the area squeezed into the sphere with a loud bang , forming a small sphere, which in a moment fell to the ground. The effect of its collision with the earth resembled a small earthquake.

I looked around and found our current location tactically unprofitable. On the one hand, the wall collapsed because of the freezing bomb, on the other, because of the implosion. So we were left hanging around on a small stump of the building under the dangerously crackling roof, which I had to hold on to telekinesis. We were on the second floor, and there were no stairs to descend.

A strange-looking car jumped out of the nearest alley, driven by a woman in even stranger clothes. Tight blue-white suit with poisonous pink inserts, antenna on the head, ending with a large ball, hood, tight-fitting head and leaving only the face open, and in addition to this mask in the form of a respirator and ridiculous-looking glasses with darkened glasses.

"Is she Bakuda?" I asked people around doubtfully. They only looked puzzled back.

Glory and Aegis rushed forward, finally finding a worthy goal. Bakuda's car resembled an open-top monstroke. Throwing the steering wheel, she threw something like a multiply-charged drum-type grenade launcher. One charge went to Glory, and the second to Aegis. It seems that her weapon possessed the function of auto-homing, because the heroes could not evade. Glory hung in the air, surrounded by obscure force fields, making a screaming sound. I did not notice any visible damage, but now she could not leave the scene of the explosion and shook her from side to side like a rag in a washing machine. Aegis again caught the charge on his chest and fell down as frozen statue. Well at least his strength somehow resisted the freezing, and he survived.

The third shot in our direction Bakuda did not have time to do. I picked up my automatic rifle and made a short shoots. Alas, the suit turned out to be bulletproof, and I no longer had time to aim at the head. After only four shots, the rifle stopped firing. The rifle was a civilian model for ten rounds. There was no time to reload it, so I threw the rifle and grabbed the gun.

Kid Win also did not stand as pillar and began watering Bakuda with two hands. Alas, this time with accuracy he was not very. The Gallant used his ability, but Bakuda simply ignored him. The villain slid to the side, jumped out of the car and was already intending to firing at us, but by this time I had reached for a gun. This time I helped myself by telekinesis, correcting the flight of a bullet. I hit, as expected, right in the left knee. Bakuda staggered, and I cheaterly pulled her grenade launcher down and pulled the trigger.

The bomb hit the ground just five meters from the car. Surprisingly, it did not explode, but only released clouds of white smoke. I thought of a volumetric type of explosive, but then I noticed that the effect of this smoke is more like acid. It quickly clouded the whole neighborhood area and began to crawl along the asphalt. The smoke was noticeably heavier than air and did not rise above a meter above ground level.

I traced how caustic gas got to Bakuda. She initially jerked from the pain, and then applied some kind of device that neutralizes the gas next to it. With the next movement, she pulled out an object that looked like a cigarette lighter with a big red button. It must have been a remote from bombs placed in the bodies of the hostages, so I instantly grabbed it by telekinesis, and then cut it into tiny cubes, which slipped from the hands of the villain as sand.

Bakuda fumbled, examined her punched leg and quickly crawled to the sewer hatch not far from her. As soon as she leaned on the grill, the rotten bars broke, dragging the mask down. To my surprise, the sewage was clean from rubbish, as if someone had recently been cleaned there. Moreover, after a dozen meters, another similarity of transport was found, this time adapted for movement along narrow sewers. It seems that Bakuda has long been preparing for a battle in this place and has organized a means of emergency evacuation. After ten seconds, the villain successfully runned out, leaving his supporters and hostages unattended.

By this time, the bomb caught the Glory, ceased action, and she broke free. Obviously having lost orientation in space, she discharged several monograms, after which she got into the wall and fell down into the fog. But after a second, Glava flew back, already more adequately perceiving reality.

"Save the Aegis!" shouted the Gallant climbing the wall to the second floor. A second ago, he jumped down into the fog, which immediately began to erode his heroic costume, so that the hapless savior had to flee himself.

"Where is he?" Glory asked, peering into the white veil that covered the ground.

"There." Showed Clockblocker, dangerously approaching a hole in the wall. He did not notice, but I "saw" perfectly as the stone crumbles under his feet.

Glory dived into the fog, and flew out after five seconds, carrying Aegis on her shoulder. Throwing him next to us like a sack of potatoes, Glory stared in disgust at the blood covering her. Aegis looked like a victim of medieval torture. All the skin peeled off him, revealing the ulcerated meat, in some places alternating with ice crystals.

Panacea immediately rushed to save him, primarily patching the circulatory system and internal organs. While everyone was staring in horror at the Aegis, the Clockblocker, who stood "on guard", stepped on the floor a couple of times, and then almost silently fell down, breaking both his legs at the same time. His martyrdom made everyone turn around and look at the hole in the floor. Glory again dived down and delivered the following patient to her sister. Fortunately, the fog did not get inside the building, so that the Clockblocker did not dissolve in it.

I looked out, watching as the white mist spreads. The hostages, previously crowded in the center of the square, now in a panic moved away from the approaching white tentacles. No one told them that Bakuda had fled, so they were torn between the need to execute the order and the desire to escape from the approaching threat.

A few minutes later I heard the roar of jet engines, and the Armsmaster came down from the sky in his suit.

"I told you to sit and not stick out." He made almost unemotional.

"We saved the hostages. And we stopped Bakudo" Objected to him Kid Win. The Armsmaster stared at the fog, clearly scanning it with all available means.

"Where is she?"

"Must be there, next to the car. This fog covered her, and she did not show up anymore.

The gunsmith examined the surroundings for an additional threat, and then flew up to the car, dispelling the fog with the exhaust of jet engines.

"There is nobody here." He shouted, shifting attention from the car to the neighborhood area "Sit there and do not try to go down. I'll check the neighborhood and take hostages."

"They have a bomb in their heads." Knight shouted.

The Armsmaster just nodded shortly, threw a masked look at me and flew away.

As always, after five minutes of heroic struggle followed two hours of writing reports, summing up and ideological brainwashing. Having loaded all the above Wards, the Armsmaster looked at me, Panacea and Glory.

"We need you to write a report about what happened." He began to press on us.

"And we do not need." I cut off.

"Who are you?"

"A conscientious citizen who brought the heroes to the rescue of the hostages, and also neutralized Bakudo."

"I'm not sure that you do something that forced her to disappearing."

"Yes of course. Surely she just remembered that she had not turned off the iron at home, and ran to turn it off."

"... I think it's not in the iron." Replied Armsmaster after a second delay. On this statement, all those present burst out laughing. Sometimes his inability to understand humor was as good as a good joke.

"Okay, we'll go." I delivered my verdict and headed for the equipped descent. The fog has almost disappeared and is no longer a threat. Behind me I pulled Panacea, and Glory flew after her. The Armsmaster could only watch us in silence. He clearly did not want to quarrel for my sake with members of the New Wave.

The paratroopers of the PRT were already snooping around the district, so I found the terrain safe, lowering the degree of attentiveness. For this I paid. A Chinese man jumped out from around the corner of the building and rushed straight towards us. The paratroopers did not yawn and cut off him with burst from an automatic rifle. As a result, the gangster fell, slamming a grenade into the ground, which he held in his right hand. There was an explosion, and the blast wave knocked me back a few meters. Panacea, fortunately at this moment was behind the wall from the explosion site, so it just stunned.

The explosion was unexpected, so I was lifted up into the air against my will. But by the time of landing, I had already oriented and softened my contact with the ground. In general, from a loss I only had a jacket smeared with mud. And from the profit I was able to portray the mortally wounded "unconscious." Panacea immediately rushed to heal me, but naturally discovered that my power was blocking her. All that was necessary to prevent her symbiote from pushing its wet lustful tentacles into the openings of my body.

Realizing her powerlessness, Panacea immediately began to cry and hug me.

"No, don't die, Eros. Wake up, can you hear me?"

"If you kiss me ..." I whispered in the voice of a dying swan. "... then I will try to survive. My eyes rolled back, and a hand reaching for Panacea's face fell helplessly onto my chest."

"Eros! Wake up, wake up, please."

I was finally kissed, after which I began to develop my success. The kiss dragged on, then hugs began, she would have rape me right here if Glory had not interfered.

"So that's why you called yourself a wandering comedian." With a mixture of contempt and envy, she said. "The role of the dying you succeeded."

"Haha, it seems I revealed myself."

Panacea awoke from the inspired trance and blushed to the roots of the hair.

"Amy, I didn't expect such passion from you." I hugged her again, whispering in my ear. "I like you, and I would like to continue my salvation in a more secluded place." She tried to pull away, but I insidiously moved her hand to my standing member. "I'm alright. I think we can go further."

I stand myself and helped Panacea up, after which we headed off. PRT did become generous to our guards, highlighting the whole five accompanying. As we walked, I embraced Panacea, and at times I even stopped and kissed her. Finally, the nerves of Glory could not stand it, and she flew away. Her annoyance was also caused by the fact that Panacea did not even attempt to heal her sister. Apparently, the quarrel between the girls turned into a mutual hostility, and only the habit of being together kept them in direct visibility from each other.

By the time we got to the station, there we were already waiting for a recent Indian, whose business card I grabbed on the way here. He was a little upset that there were no Wards with us, but I cheered him with a piece of paper for a hundred bucks, telling him to go to my home. In the car, we also kissed, then violently hugged in the elevator, and finally, rushing into my apartment, began to tear each other's clothes off. In general, at night we had something to do.

As a rule, morning is a certain sobering moment in a relationship. Yesterday's passion no longer overshadows the mind, the rested brain begins to analyze the possible consequences, the jaded body reacts poorly to sexual stimuli. But all this had nothing to do with us. I just stuck my tentacle into the girl's brain, "turned on two hundred and twenty," and all doubts immediately left her head, replaced by a desire to continue sabantuy. And we continued it.

Today was Saturday, and therefore there was no need to go to school. We got out of bed only towards noon, having moved to the jacuzzi. Then there was cooking breakfast, and when we sat down at the table to gobble up what God sent, I turned on the TV.

A report appeared on the screen about how the city survived a night filled with explosions and what counteracts the administration was taking to cope with the consequences. As it turned out, having received from us to the nose, Bakuda did not calm down and began to blow up everything all over the city. And on the sly, while the Wards, the PRT and the Protectorate were rushing all over Brockton Bay, an attack took place on the transport that transported Lung to the Cage.

Hearing about the many victims, Panacea immediately planned to go to the hospital, and then remembered that she had switched off her phone last night. The image of an angry Mom Photon immediately surfaced in her head, from which the romantic mood immediately disappeared. I decided to take the fire to myself. After Amy was scolded for the absence of the phone at night and for turned off phone, I picked up the phone and in the ultimatum form stated that I can be able to take care of my chosen one, after which I switched off phone.

The following call and disassembly resulted in each side remaining to its own opinion, but at least accepting the existence of the opposite side. After that, we went to the hospital, where I was able to observe the healing of mere mortals, and not immortal terminators like Aegis.

The following week merged into a gray daily routine, which I loved terribly. At the beginning there was a school, during which I dealt with my abilities and idle magic. Then Panacea and I went to my house, where we gave vent to our passion. And then she went to the hospital, where I accompanied her a couple of times and supported her morally.

Well, for a snack at night, I wore a black raincoat suit and went to nightmare thieves and drug dealers. The latter have already understood what is going on, and therefore they were desperately encrypted. Some even went to work at all in the morning and afternoon so as not to appear on the street at the same time with me. In response, I had to look for caches of drugs myself and punish those who were near them.

It seems that my "heroic" activity did not go beyond the destruction of petty riffraff. With this, I reassured the major players, at the same time collecting information about the main criminal forces of Brockton Bay: the Empire, the ABB and the Merchants. These were not all teams of villains, but they were behind the large criminal organizations trying to crush the entire city.

Especially in this regard, Lung, a brutish man, who forcibly recruited a bunch of people and started something big. Every day explosions were heard, someone was abducted and "turned into true faith" by putting a bomb into his head. More people died in shootings and squabbles than I managed to kill. After all, I dismembered only those whom I caught at the scene of the crime, and the ABB destroyed everyone who they simply did not like. In addition, the city was flooded with army, police and lone heroes, attracted by the opportunity to become famous as fighters against crime. Naturally, they did not fight with any crime, but only posed in their suits in front of the cameras and demonstratively beat faces a couple of hooligans daily.

On Friday evening, a call arrived on my phone, which I, to be honest, already waited.

"Alo. Phone sex."

"Eros, we need to meet."

"Ow! Do you want to move our relationship from virtuality to reality?"

"Not funny. So what about the meeting? It is important."

" Good. Where and when?"

"Today at the docks near the beach. Bar Flying Dutchman. At nine in the evening."

"Wait for me, honey. Chao."

I hung up and thought, ‘Tattletale finally decided to take a step forward.’ And while she did not come to her senses, I should take ten steps, go behind her and put a knife to her throat.  After that it will be possible to talk.

At a quarter to nine, I sat on the docks three hundred meters from the meeting place, dressed in my signature black cloak. The sun had already set, and the darkness reliably hid me from random glances. Since then, my abilities have developed even more, and now I could work on objects at a distance of half a kilometer. As a rule, all my night “hikes” consisted  of the fact that I was sitting in a rented car, and all the atrocities were made by a “shadow projection”, successfully depicting my personal presence.

Today, I wanted to meet with Tattletale personally, but first I had to find out who else would come to the meeting, except for her. Five minutes before the appointed time, a taxi drove up to the bar, in which Tattletale stepped out in her villainous costume. And how does she have the audacity to walk within the crowd? Unlike other masks, her abilities do not contribute to survival in a collision with enraged inhabitants.

Once again, I searched the neighborhood and made sure that there were no other masks nearby. Identifying  surveillance in the face of ordinary people, or equipment, was more difficult, but it did not frighten me. First of all, I was interested in the motives of Tattletale. Rising into the air, I got to the bar in a few seconds and slipped inside through the back door.

In the bar, the girl was already sitting at the table, facing the entrance. To her left sat  a wall and a sofa, and a hall to her right . Assessing the situation, I decided on a small circus trick. One by one I dropped three glasses from the waitress’ tray. Naturally, the sound of breaking glass attracted attention, and Tattletale turned her head to the right. At that moment I quickly flew and sat down on the sofa to her left. Making sure that nothing special happened, the girl turned away and again looked at the entrance.

“Waiting for me?”  I took an interest in my "treasonally-speaking" voice.

Tattletale suddenly turned her head to me  and almost jumped. The spectacle of a figure shrouded in darkness with the mask of a demon did not contribute to calm.

“Black Cloak? Why you?”  The confusion passed after a second, after which she replied in an almost calm voice. “I invited Eros.”

“Boys at his age need to think about girls and school, and not about disassembly with masks,” I said insistently.

“I knew you were connected.”

“If you had not guessed about this, I would be very disappointed.” Tattletale shrank from the tone of my voice. “So what about did you want to talk?”

The villain looked at me attentively, after which she wrinkled a displeased face. All her attempts to read information from me were defended.

“There are two questions. First, tomorrow there will be a gathering of the majority of Brockton Bay villains. There they will discuss the situation with Lung and you.”

“Do you want me to kill them all?” The girl startled again and looked at me with fear.

“No. I want you to attend this event. And as you know, you don't need to kill anyone there. This is neutral territory.”

“Well, in general, I do not mind meeting with the rulers of this city. I have something to say to them. Are they already in a panic?”

“Not really. Your fight against drugs only increased their profits. They raised the drug price five times, and sales volumes fell by a maximum of a quarter. But they, of course, are unhappy.”

There was a pause in our conversation. Apparently, Tattletale doubted whether to tell me something else.

“What is the second question?”

The villain sighed and looked straight into my eyes.

“I want you to kill Coil.”

“Coil? I heard this name, but nothing concrete. Like this is some kind of villain, the roof of the city center.”

“Yes. And for one, our boss.”

“Undersiders?” A silent nod was her answer. “And what didn’t please you about your boss?”

“He ... makes me work with threats.”

“Loves to play domination-submission?”

“Not the way you thought.” Tattletale grinned darkly. “If I stop being useful to him, he will just kill me.”

“What is his strength?”

“I don’t know,  but this is something related to the prediction of the future.”

“The prophet? Interesting.”

“He always manages to make sure that he is not in a place where he is in danger. But that's not all,”  She paused again to delay her answer.

“Do not pull the cat by the tail.”

“Last thursday he kidnapped Dina Alcott, the city governor's niece . She is a cap and has the ability to predict the future, giving the probability of the occurrence of certain events.”

“Two prophets ... Very entertaining.”

“Coil puts her on drugs and makes her predict the future in exchange for another dose. But she is only twelve years old.”

“Interesting, and Coil knows about your meeting with me?”

“I do not think so. Otherwise, I would not be here. Instead, my corpse would have sailed in the bay.”

“Or I would kill all his people, and right now I was heading to the city center to punish him for interfering in my affairs.”

“There is evidence that only he can foresee events that could really happen. But now he has Dina, and I am afraid that opposition may not be easy.”

“Nonsense.” I waved away. “First, for  now, I'm not going to kill him. Maybe it won't even be necessary, because he will die without my help. Secondly, the strength of these two prophets most likely does not take into account my intervention. As you noticed, finding out something about me is quite difficult.” Tattletale nodded with a dull look. Apparently, her mind was tormented by hundreds of questions about me, not one of which she could find an answer. “Well, the most important thing is that knowledge of the future can not help you if the final is not dependent on your efforts. If I want, I could  kill him no matter what he does in return. It's like playing chess when you have a complete set of pieces, and your opponent only has a king.”

At the moment, I could already fairly well heal people. Of course, I was far from the Panacea level, but the daily experiments on drug dealers allowed me to get a hand on healing various injuries. In fact, the whole operation was reduced only to the implementation of the program “to make according to DNA”. Cancer cannot be cured this way, but it is easy to sew a severed arm.

The presence in the zone of the reach of two prophets made it possible to learn how to predict the future. And this is another gold coin in my piggy bank of survival. The knowledge about the Endbringers made such precautions not at all superfluous.

“I need information about Coil. Where are his bases, what does he do, where does he get money from? All that you know. And you did not tell me where and when the local bosses will meet. Will there be a Coil there?

“Yes.”

“It is a good opportunity to see him.”

Ten minutes later, our meeting ended, and we ran away satisfied with one  other. I was not deceived about Tattletale’s motives. She didn’t want to work for Coil, and would hardly agree to work for me. At least to coercion is better not to bring. The current situation is quite indicative of the consequences of such a policy.

On Saturday, at fifteen to three, I sat in ambush and watched the people gathering for a meeting. It had to take place in a bar, lost on the border of the central part of the city and the docks.

First came the Undersiders, almost immediately after me. Five minutes later, a representative car drove up, in which a man, clad in steel armor, emerged. Beside him, two muscular girls in armored jackets hobbled. These were Kaiser, Fenja and Menja — the main shock force of the Empire Eighty-Eight.

Then, another similar car rolled up in which Purity, Krieg, and Hookwolf came out. They were so  recognizable that even I could notice them from a distance. These were masks that held the position as  officers in the Kaiser organization, although there were many rumors that Purity had left them. Yether appearance in such a composition clearly indicated that it was not worth trusting these rumors.

Coil, who came out of the alley, calmly walked down the street and went into the bar. He was not accompanied by any of the ordinary bodyguards. He parked the car on the next block. That said a lot about his confidence. At least he was not afraid of getting attacked  himself.

He was followed by a group of mercenaries, led by Faultline, as they entered the bar. Some of them were people quite conditionally. An article on the Internet described them quite accurately, so there were no problems with identification.

A minute later, a car drove up, looking as if it had been made from garbage and “parked” almost in the middle of the road. Two capes, dressed in costumes of a similar garbage design, fell out of it. It was Skidmark and Squealer, whom I had been searching for the last week and a half. Immediately after the massacre at the docks, they left their shelter and did not appear in public, limiting themselves only to sending reliable couriers with drugs.

The time on the clock approached three, so I left the observation post and flew to the bar. I opened the door at exactly fifteen zero. Accuracy - the politeness of kings. The eyes of all those present converged on me, and there was silence in the bar.

“Good day,” I calmly said, heading for a free chair at the common table, where the leaders of the gangs gathered. Only the Merchants sat separately at a table in the corner.

“Black Cloak,” Kaiser squeezed out. “I have a couple of questions for you.”

“I will be happy to answer them after the main discussion.”

I sat opposite the Grue and began to look at the audience. I noticed that many looked from Grue to me. To enhance the effect, I added darkness around me and made it dissipate and squirm in the same manner as my opponent showed.

“Which of them imitating?” I heard a whisper from behind.

“I don’t know, but the Black Cloak looks cooler.”

My demon mask smiled smugly, exposing snow-white dagger teeth. Of course they looked painted, but the impression was correct.

“I think I'll take one chair.” Said the man who suddenly appeared at the door. He wore a high top hat and a classic frock coat.

It was clearly teleportation. I even noticed the elements of space effects characteristic of the Replacement Technique from the world of Naruto. The door behind him swung open, and there appeared a whole group of strange looking creatures. Or rather, there was only one creature, but this oddity was enough for everyone else. It was not even alive in the full sense of the word. I turned to see this miracle, remotely resembling a giant gorilla.

“Travelers, yes?” Pronounced Coil. “You are not local. Decisions here are made only by those who have influence in the city.”

“You can consider us as nomads. Whatever is happening here is too interesting to skip, so I decided that we look in here.” The guy with the cylinder hat made an official bow. He could certainly pass the butler exam at the court of the Queen of Great Britain. “I'm Trickster.”

“Do you know the rules?” Asked him Grue.

“We have been to such places. I can propose. Do not make fights, do not use abilities, do not provoke others, or everyone else in the room will forget about any enmity among themselves in order to put the violator in place.”

“Close to the truth. It is important to have a neutral territory where you can meet and discuss some issues in a civilized manner.”

“I will not argue with that. Please continue as if I am not here.”

The Trickster sat down at the main table as his team took their place in the far corner away from everyone. There were enough masks in the bar to make it look almost full.

Coil looked around at the table, nodded and said in an indifferent voice.

“Apparently, all gathered, it seems that Lung will not come, although I doubt that this is a surprise for those present, given the subject of our meeting today.”

“ABB and...Black Cloak.” The voice of Kaiser was heard, barely hidden by irritation. My mask blossomed with another toothy grin.

“The death of thirty-five people from the explosions was confirmed. More than a hundred in the last week were hospitalized. Also, another five dozen small dealers and criminals were dismembered to the state of bloody minced meat.” Coil turned his head to me, clearly blaming me for this. My smile became even wider, literally stretching from ear to ear. “On the streets there are armed forces. Skirmishes between members of the ABB, the combined police, and military forces continue. The people of Lung attacked our firms and caused explosions in places where, in their opinion, we could be. They captured our territories and there are no signs that they will stop in the foreseeable future.”

“The city is literally sinking in chaos,” said Kaiser. “Lung takes on too much by himself.”

“And this is a real problem. ABB will not be able to withstand. Sooner or later, they will self-destruct, and the problem will disappear. If it were not for some subtleties, then we would take it as a boon. Our problem is that the actions of the ABB attract too much attention to our honest city. National security and military forces are here to assist in maintaining order. Heroes flock to the city to morally support the Protectorate. This complicates the business.”

“Bakuda is at the center of all this.” joined the Grue to dialogue. “Lung may be a leader, but everything depends on her. She "hired" people, kidnapping them asleep, subduing and implanting bombs in their heads. Then, she threatens to blow them up, forcing them to abduct new people. The number of hostages, now, is at least three hundred. Each of her soldiers knows that if he does not fulfill the order, Bakuda can detonate the bombs. All of them are willing to risk their lives, because the alternative is certain death, or the death of their loved ones. Our main goal is to neutralize her, but she sets up her bombs so that they explode as soon as her heart stops, so it will be a bit more complicated than a simple kill.”

“What's the problem?” I asked blankly. “A total of three hundred civilians. This is less than one tenth of a percent of the city’s population. So many die of natural causes  every month.”

“It will affect our image,” explained Kaiser.

“You would think they consider you are not villains, but at least the saviors of the nation.”

“Actually, they think we are,but not all.”

“I do not think that your target audience will greatly decrease from this. Declare that most of the dead were blacks and bums, and the people would forget about them in a day.”

“How can you say that?” Grue rebelled. “These are humans.”

“So what?” I looked around the barand did not notice the agreement in their eyes. “Do you know that in Africa ten thousand children die of hunger every day? Everyday. Ten thousand. From hunger! Well, now you know. And what will you do in connection with this? You cannot answer, and so everything is clear - nothing. You cannot do anything because these negroes are away, and you do not have to have any work. You did not know about them, and you did not care for them. With me everything is the same, but only my “distance of care” is somewhat less than yours. I’m worried about what I see right in front of me, but I’m clearly aware that it’s not in my power to save more than a few people at a time. So, why create yourself extra problems trying to achieve the impossible? Save the people - great. Can’t save? Well, to hell with them - women give birth to new ones. On the contrary, the longer you stay tormented by moral doubts, the more people will capture Bakuda. She frolics in the city for a week, but one sniper's bullet would be enough to stop all this at the very beginning.”

My monologue made a definite impression, but not to all. However, I had nothing to object to. In the end, it was not for nothing, that those gathered here were called villains, and they understood this philosophy.

“So.”  Once again, Coil examined us. “We have agreed to? The ABB cannot be allowed to continue its activities.”  Most of the participants expressed their approval of this idea with nods or a consonant hum. “Then I propose a truce. Not only with everyone here, but between us and the law. I can contact the authorities and inform them that until the issue with the ABB is resolved, our groups will restrict illegal activities to the minimum, necessary level for our business, and we will ensure that those who do their own business do the same as our territories. This will allow the police and the military to concentrate all their attention on the ABB. There should be no violence or clashes between our groups due to territory. No theft nor insults. For the sake of victory, we will unite with those whom we can somehow tolerate, and we will ignore those with whom we cannot cooperate.”

“I think this is acceptable,”  Kaiser agreed.

“Our team will not subscribe to this,” objected Faultline. “We by ourselves do not do anything like this, but if we are paid, we will do anything. We can even start working for Lung if we find the fee acceptable.”

“Well, regrettably. But we can talk after this meeting ends. I prefer not to create difficulties.”  Coil said.

“I spoke with my group that we would act in approximately the same spirit as Coil proposed.”  Grue added. “Yes, we agree.”

“Black Cloak?” Coil turned to me, making sure that I was not in a hurry to agree.

“It's funny that you came to such an agreement on your own.” I answered mockingly. “I think I should explain my position, including regarding your claims to me.”

I looked around at each of the leaders and even turned to look at the Merchants table.

“From the moment I arrived at Brockton Bay, this city belonged to me.” I heard an offended sniff from Kaiser. “I do not care about your affairs, as long as you comply with my laws. You know all about them: do not sell drugs, no violence, theft, robbery, extortion, raider seizure of property and fraud. As long as you keep my laws, you are safe. If you decide to break them, then I will come and destroy you, regardless of the consequences.”

Kaiser tried to say something, but I stopped him by raising my hand.

“Those sweeps that I spend at night are just a warning. When I cut out a hundred Merchants, it was also only an indicative execution. This city has not yet seen my wrath and did not see what I can do if I act in full force. Therefore, in order not to be unfounded, I propose a small contract. You permanently stop all types of criminal activity, and by tomorrow morning I will solve the problem with ABB, Lung, Bakuda and their henchmen.

In the hall hung silence. No one risked violating it, because they were not ready to agree with, or reject, my proposal.

“You offer me to roll off my whole business?” Kaiser almost growled.

“Business? No, you can keep a clean business. The crime will have to cease. You promote the superiority of the white race,” I started the return press. “And where is it, this superiority? Your strength based on drugs, extortion, and theft. In fact, you are no better than Merchants. No better than those dirty niggas. You do exactly the same thing as they do. Do you want to show the superiority of the white man? Then take care of the legal business, adjust production, raise science, support culture. If you achieve this, having only true Aryans in your organization, then I will be the first to come and congratulate you on your success. For now, I see only a handful of pale-faced geeks who differ from blacks only by smaller penis size and lighter skin color.”

Kaiser rose, and his chair flew backward, falling to the floor. He clenched and unclenched his fists, snorting angrily and trying at least to say something in response.

“I repeat: My proposal is not a farce and not a game. I could kill all of you in a split second, but it is unsporting. I will not get any benefit from it. No moral satisfaction. My laws are only a payment to society for allowing me to quench my thirst for blood. I could kill everyone, but I prefer to do so that my actions benefit not only me but also those around me. You can agree with me, you can disagree - this is your choice. I just explain my position, and you have to make your own decision and face predictable consequences. I also do not need chaos in the city. It interferes with business.”

Kaiser stood for a few more seconds, then pulled a chair next to him and sat down on it without saying a word. A girl came out from behind the bar and lifted the fallen chair and placed it next to the next table.

“We understand your position and promise to think about it.” Coil informed me.

“For the beginning that's enough.” I agreed.

“So, we are finished with the main theme of our meeting.” Coli appealed to all. “Before our paths diverge, are there any other questions? Suggestions, announcements, complaints?”

“I have a claim,” There was a rough voice from Kaiser’s group.

The figure, naked to the waist, rose from the table and approached us. It was  Hookwolf. He wore a flat metal mask with wolf ears. Of his clothes, there were only black wide jeans. he entire upper half of the body was littered with metal spikes and hooks that grew straight from the skin. He stared at the table at which the team of the Undersiders sat.

“There is that whore, Bitch. This bitch attacked my company. Her damn dog harassed  my clients. You're lucky I wasn't there, whore.”

Grue stared at Bitch, then replied to Hookwolf.

“This is a risk to be considered when doing business in Brockton Bay. On your way, the cape can stand up, no matter whether they are heroes or villains.

Hookwolf burned his eyes.

“This is a matter of respect. We do not fight, but you want to fuck off my business? First, tell what your problem is. Let me decide for myself if I want to move my business.”

“And what kind of business?” I asked.

“... Dogfights,”  replied Hookwolf a little doubt.

“Hmm ... and you want to make a similar claim to Bitch?”  I was surprised.

“What's the problem?” Hookwolf frowned and looked at me with a challenge.

“How would I say this …” I stretched out. “All those gathered here are masks. And each mask is a psycho with one or another deviation in their behavior. You, for example, love violence, and Bitch loves dogs. This deviation determines our behavior, makes us able to use force. When they come to any mask and say that he must act in defiance of his shift in the brain, he goes into a rage and begins to destroy everything around him. For Bitch, such an irritant is when someone hurts dogs. For you, it is if someone says that you must love all the blacks on the planet. Consider me, if you would arrange fights to death not for dogs, but for kawai cats, I would kill you right here and now, regardless of any agreements and truces. As the person in a black outfit said when she was ordered to stop.” I nodded at the Zerg Queen “‘I can't. It's stronger than me’. So if you arrange dog fights, then you should immediately lay in the costs of the likelihood that the next day a psycho like a bitch will come to you and begin to destroy everything around for the sake of agreement with his own schizophrenia. Is this clear, or Bitch should start to promote sex with blacks under the windows of your apartment?”

Pent-up giggles spread across the hall. Hookwolf snuffled like Kaiser a few minutes ago, then he stared at Bitch and declared.

“Next time I'll tear you and your dogs apart.”

“We'll see.” With a call she answered.

Hookwolf glanced at me and then headed back to his desk. I looked around and found that half of those present were looking at Hookwolf or Bitch, and the second half was lost in their thoughts, trying to understand what is their personal insanity was about.

“Does anyone have any other questions?” Asked Coil. There was a serenity in his voice.

“Yes, what happened to the Fog and Night?” Asked Purity, not rising from her seat.

“It seems that I left a very specific explanatory inscription.”  I have advised. “They died.”

“We did not find their bodies.”

All those present focused their attention on me. For some, the news that I killed two strong capes was shocking.

“You know how I deal with the bodies of those executed. I tear them into small pieces. So I did with them, after which I cremated and buried in a barrel. It stood in the hall on the first floor. Have you seen this?

“I ... I ordered to take it to the garbage.”

“It is a good place for the graves of drug dealers. More questions? Do not be shy.”

What was happening was reminiscent of a cheap farce, which Coil did not like.

“No questions.”  Here he summarized. “Let's finish our meeting. Thank you for coming. Faultline, can I have a word with you before you leave?”

I got up, glanced at the pensive Kaiser, looked around at the quieter Tattletale and the Queen of Zergas burning with indignation, then enveloped myself in darkness and with a rapid jerk flew out of the bar, opening the doors in front of me.

On the street I flew off to the side and hid on the roof of the building a couple of hundred meters from the bar. Now I was going to follow the masks of the Merchants, and then finally clean up the whole gang. Most of the rank and file members were already known to me, as well as their place of residence. By and large, these people had nowhere to go. Even at the docks there were not too many places where they could get comfortable with relative comfort. Many buildings were burned out or were on the verge of collapse. And homeless people and drug addicts destroyed the infrastructure of this region more and more.

Skidmark and Squealer came out one of the first, climbed into his clunker and rushed forward at full speed. I pursued them without falling into their eyes. An hour later, they stopped almost in the suburbs in the northern part of the city. The industrial zone of the docks and depot remained to the south, and there used to be a residential quarter in which employees of the nearest enterprises were huddled together.

The car disappeared into the underground garage of one of the buildings, and I approached to scan it. Large stocks of drugs, a chemical laboratory and a warehouse of chemical reagents filled with bags up to the ceiling became a catch. Immediately acquired and several couriers who were engaged in drug trafficking in the city. One of them even saw me through the window, but I did not give him the opportunity to raise the alarm by turning his neck.

After landing on the roof, I began to watch the Skidmark, while tightly searching the building for money. Four floors of the double access house made it possible to arrange a lot of hiding places. While I was gutting the tricksters, the Skidmark and his girlfriend went into the lab and began to check the operation of the equipment. After a couple of minutes, a couple more residents of the house joined them, helping with the “bring-serve” level works.

I found money in the building just under a hundred thousand dollars. This was too little, and therefore, it was necessary to interrogate the Merchants about the location of the stash. I immobilized all the people in the building and then broke through the window into the laboratory. Such a trifle as steel bars on the windows did not delay me even for a split second.

“Well, well, well. Detained red-handed.” I turned the Skidmark and Squealer so that they could see me.

“You? Fucking cape! You followed us. This is a breach of contract.”

“What contract? I do not remember that agreed about something with worms like you.”

“Fucking fagot! Let me go. Or I'll tear you to pieces.”

I just laughed at such threat.

“Actually, I’ll tear you to pieces. You have only one chance to stay alive - to pay off. You must be fabulously rich.”

“Go fuck! You will not get a penny from me, smelly jackal …”

I fixed the pusher's vocal cords, making it impossible for him to speak.

“Then I will return to this question in about fifteen minutes.”

I took a timer standing on the table, put fifteen minutes on it, started the countdown, and then began to tear off small pieces of his body from the Skidmark and to heal them back. For one thing, I cleaned his body from drugs, which formed a cocktail in his blood, one drop of which could, perhaps, kill a horse from an overdose.

Literally at that very same moment, a field of force appeared around me, trying to push me away. That's just the impact force was small. The maximum what it was like is a change in the direction of the action of the Earth's gravity. Without interrupting torture, I once again analyzed the impact and came to an unambiguous conclusion - this is a change the vector of the action of gravity. That is, the force of influence in principle could not exceed the force of gravity. Very poor, as for me. With a light movement of the tentacles, I dispelled this field and focused on torture.

At first, Skidmark did not show any particular emotions in response to torture. But as the drugs began to leave his blood, the panic began to fill his mind more and more. I perfectly controlled it with the help of tentacles, inherited from Glory. By the time when fifteen minutes was over, he constantly watched the change of numbers on the timer, seeing off every second with tears in his eyes. As soon as I gave him the opportunity to speak, he shouted:

“Kill me! Kill me! I do not want to live. Nah-ee-ee! I want it all to stop. Life is such a crap that I want nothing to do with it.”

It seems that my torture was completely useless. But getting rid of drugs led to depression of unspeakable proportions.

“Good. But first tell me where your money lies.”

And then a stream of descriptions of various hiding places, stashes and treasures made by Skidmark literally poured on me. At the same time, the control of emotions showed that he was definitely not lying.

“Well. Be patient a little bit more.”

I give him some hope and turned to Squealer . She looked at me with a mixture of hatred, contempt and fear. An unexpected Skidmark tantrum frightened her more than all the torture before. I partially freed the techie, previously depriving her from all the technical gadgets.

“I will let you go if you kill the Skidmark .” I delighted her, hanging in front of her in the air a hefty cleaver.

I was interested in the process of absorbing one symbiote by another. And now I wanted to watch this process.

“Why should I believe you?” She asked, clutching at the weapon.

“You have no choice. Either you kill him, or I start torturing you. It's simple.”

The pusher tried to escape from my grip, and then he whined:

“Squealer dear, please kill me. I can't take this anymore. Just stick a knife in my heart. You can. I beg you !!!”

“You have always been a weakling.” Spat Squealer.

After that, she grabbed the knife more comfortably and ... rushed at me. Naturally, I grabbed her at the very beginning of the movement.

“It was the wrong decision.” I notified her, after which the pain came to her, and the blood began to be cleared of drugs. There was no such high concentration of chemistry, so it came to the human norm in a minute.

“Aaaaaa !!!” She screamed when she gained the ability to speak. “Ok, ok,  I'm going to kill him.”

“Just be so.”

This time, Squealer didn’t organize a show, but jumped to her accomplice and almost from a running start threw a knife into his heart. Then pulled out, and threw again. And further. A minute later she literally turned the chest and pulled out a shredded heart.

“Are you satisfied now?” She asked, throwing a bloody lump at me.

“Almost ... wait a minute.”

I immersed myself in observing the process of merging the symbiotes. This process did not become clearer, but at least I understood that in the symbiote it was changing after that. If earlier I could only track the effects of absorption on the symbiote's consciousness, now I was able to evaluate the quantitative side of this process. Roughly speaking, with each absorption of the symbiote, a certain part of the “fullness scale” was filled. However, the fill size was not directly related to that of the victim. That is, by killing one cape, whose symbiote was on the verge of becoming complete, you did not risk becoming the same as he.

For a more complete understanding of this process, I need to conduct a couple more experiments, but on the whole the result was clear. I could finish off at least fifty masks before I reach the limit beyond which it was unclear what awaited me. Most likely, the end of this game for me personally.

“Yes, everything is ready. And now it remains only to shake out from you the position of all your stashes.”

“You promised to let me go.” Squealer screamed in awe.

“Aaaa, I joked. Sorry, sometimes something happens to my sense of humor, and people do not understand that I am joking.”

“Bastard, cre…”

I silenced my test subject and stuck my wet, lewd tentacle right into her between ... an eye. I was going to check the work of the lie detector, based on the control of emotions. At the same time I did not even need to listen to the patient's answers. It was enough to ask questions that could be answered yes or no.

After twenty minutes of intense conversation, I looked at the written sheet, where my notes on the interrogation of Skidmark and Squealer were. In general, the amount went obscenely large. I even did not understand what these underground billionaires did in the slums. They could already live somewhere on the southern islands, surrounded by a harem. But apparently, the inertia of thinking did not allow them to abandon their “gang”. After all, it was only there that they could be appreciated “in dignity”, could they glorify their fame, wealth and beauty. Ugh, what an abomination.

I flew out of the building, and then literally razed it to the ground, mixing the stone of the walls with the bodies of the still living Merchants. After that, I had to go and see all the stashes and gut them, taking the money found and destroying the drugs. With a full bag of money, I, like Santa Claus, was still forced to come up with a plan on how to deliver all this wealth to my apartment without attracting attention. I couldn’t just fly over and throw off a heap of money in broad daylight.

In general, I was released only around six in the evening, when it was already getting dark. Tonight I had to deal with the ABB, so it was not worth wasting time.

According to information known to me, Lung and his henchmen settled in the northwest of the city. For reasons unknown to me, this area was called the southern docks, although at best they could be called western. And certainly not the docks, because the nearest dock from there was fifteen kilometers away in a straight line. The logic of the locals did not give in to a scientific explanation.

Rushing through the sky like a bird, I scanned the neighborhood for clusters of people. Abandoned industrial buildings alternated with inhabited barracks here, forming a very strange architecture. In contrast to the coastal docks, there was enough normal homes. The infrastructure was not destroyed, and water supply, sewage, electricity and roads allowed the inhabitants to live a civilized life. Here lived the working strata of the population of the city, diluted with all sorts of drug addicts, lumpens and outcasts. The one that have not any profit to society, without any working place and living to Governments allowance.

The interrogations of drug dealers caught by me during the week gave a tip to several places that the ABB guarded most closely. Now I was heading to one of these places. At dusk, the dirty gray warehouse building looked like ... dirty gray buildings. It seemed to be not made from concrete, but solely from natural dirt - the very rubbish that accumulates in the corners in rooms where it is never cleaned.

Inside the warehouse were several dozen people. What is most interesting, in one of the rooms reside almost naked people. They walked along the tables, on which was located some kind of chemical equipment. Obviously, it was another drug lab. Well then, it's time to punish this whole breeding ground of lies and vice.

I landed on the roof of the warehouse and began to scan the neighborhood in a radius of half a kilometer. For each person, I put a kind of beacon, marking it as a member of the ABB or an innocent civilian. Of course, I was not sure that my definition was one hundred percent accurate, but I was sure that I could destroy most of the ABB forces in one fell swoop. There were armed groups, dens for drug addicts, and brothels. It even has a hundred "recruits" with bombs in their heads. I noted them especially.

After the sorting of the targets was completed, I gave the command to the symbiote, and it simultaneously killed almost a thousand people by dispersing their body to bloody dust. Among them were at least four hundred drug addicts who did not have a direct connection with the ABB, but supplied them with money, buying drugs. Having the ability of Panacea, symbiote could almost instantly determine the presence of narcotic substances in the blood, so there could not be an error.

The only living members of the ABB were only the inhabitants of the warehouse. I was already going to break in through the ceiling in order to organize my spectacular appearance in the expanding yarn of darkness, but then I noticed the car heading to the building and recognized Kaiser’s limousine at which he came to the bar today. Looks like something interesting is going to happen.

With a creak of brakes, the car stopped right outside the warehouse. Kaiser jumped out of it in his steel armor and froze in amazement, noticing the ground strewn with pieces of blood-stained meat. These were the remains of the ABB patrol . Without waiting for his companions in the face of two blondes Fenja and Menja, he rushed forward, knocking out the doors of the warehouse. They met him with a burst of gunfire, which nevertheless could not cause any harm. Although several bullets hit the mask in dangerous proximity to the eye slits.

A chain of metal blades grown from the floor pierced the gunners, and a fierce cry from Kaiser, the head of the Empire, swept across the room.

“Lung! Come out!!! Your last day has come.”

Immediately after the shout, loud bangs sounded, and  Fenja and Menja burst through the wall inside the warehouse, they have grown to a three-meter height. I went down and headed for the breach, while remaining unnoticed.

“Kaiser! This is my territory. How did you even dare come here?” There was a surprisingly competent response in the form of a shout. Apparently, when he wanted, Lung could speak quite normally. One of the people in the hall tore off the top of his clothes and begins to be shrouded in flames. Right before my eyes, scales began to grow over his skin. “Have you brought the Black Cloak with you too? What, no longer confident in your strength?”  Lung continued, noticing my appearance.

“Black Cloak?” Kaiser turned around and looked at me. “What are you doing here? Decided to steal my glory?”

“Your glory? Bwa ha ha. What are you talking about? I want to see how Lung will crush your skull. And do not think that you will be able to escape from here by holding your tail. Only one of you should survive today. I promise not to intervene in your battle.”

“You can not.” There was a pop, and next to me appeared the figure of Demon Lee. “You will have a battle with me.”

“Sounds fun.” I agreed, retreating back to the street.

Demon Lee appeared behind my back and tried to stick a knife in my back. Steel stopped a few centimetres from the cloak, as if buried in a spring. After another second, I felt the cape was teleported to the roof, leaving behind a cluster of force fields and virtual matter in the shape of a man. Both were the result of a symbiotic effect, the result of a partial manifestation of his tentacles in the physical world.

Lung’s minion over and over again tried to attack me using cold weapons. A couple of times he used grenades, but these were normal explosive grenades, so I did not even try to budge. Telekinesis reliably protected me from all such methods of influence.

“Is that all you can?” I mocked scornfully. “Jump back and forth to create the appearance of an attack? It will not hold me even for a second.”

I decisively turned and head for the warehouse. Demon Lee tried to stop me by teleporting close to immediately plunge the knife into my throat, but he failed. The tentacles of his symbiote came across the resistance of my symbiote, and the mask was literally thrown into physical dimension, sending the mask to the wall on the opposite side of the street. Having knocked out a couple of bricks from wall with his body, Demon Lee immediately teleported to the roof of the warehouse to take a breath.

“I haven’t even begun to try to kill you, and you’re almost dead. What a miserable power you have. Are you really so insignificant, eh, Demon Lee?”

The provocation made Demon Lee use the gift of Bakuda. He approached me with a grenade in his hand, after which he teleported around the corner of the building. But I already had the opportunity to make sure that it is better not to be tricked by the creations of an insane techie. That is why my telekinesis snatched the bomb from the clone's hand and moved it right under Demon Lee’s side.

There was a muffled boom, after which part of the warehouse wall was covered with hoarfrost. And here I thought Bakuda would be more creative in their explosives. Demon Lee managed to escape, but it was obvious that he had managed it with difficulty. A part of his left leg was covered with frost. Now he was sitting on the roof of the warehouse and rubbing it, trying to bring it back to normal.

“You are pathetic. It's time to kill you.”

I telekinesis picked up a brick from the ground and launched it into the villain. He made another attempt to attack me from the back, but seriously miscalculated. As soon as he appeared next to me, I telekinetically catched every cell of his body, preventing him  from escaping. Not so long ago, I neutralized the ability of Night in the same way.

Demon Lee attempted to teleport, but did not succeed. I slowly turned around and looked into his eyes.

“That's all. Now, I will tear you into a hundred little demons, after which I can enjoy the spectacle of the battle of two powerful masks. You couldn't even entertain me.”

The demon struggled to break free, activating his ability to move over and over again. His symbiote squealed hysterically in the telepathic range, pronouncing something in its Swahili and creating the sensation of cricket chirping right under my ear. I winced at the unpleasant sensations, and my victim managed to escape. But, the success was ... partial.

I looked at Demon Lee, who was staring at me in shock. One of his self stood right in front of me, and the second stood ten meters away. A few seconds passed, and the head of the body in front of me showered with a weightless black dust. The second figure disappeared almost completely, leaving only the head and part of the spine hanging in the air. Both parts did not fall because I kept them telekinesis.

“Look at what you've done.” I turned to the head, which did not die because of my ability to heal. “I didn't even hit you, as you literally killed yourself. No, that won't do. I still need you alive.”

I inserted the spine back into the body, and then I overgrow the wound, hastily regenerating the tissue. The body remained paralyzed, but I was able to restore the work of individual vital organs - the heart, lungs, and liver. At least he won't die in the next few hours anymore. I interfered with the work of the cape’s brain, depriving him out of consciousness, and then put him on the roof of a neighboring building. I hope no one would bother him there.

Having finished with this, I turned to the warehouse only to notice its epic collapse. All this time, my symbiote automatically did not allow any person to leave the building, so now all the members of the ABB have died under the rubble. And who did not die, I helped them to die. Only Lung, Kaiser, Fenja, and Menja was alive. However, the definition of "alive" was somewhat inaccurate.

Kaiser was still in his armor shaped tin can, but his body was one big mutilated mess. Next to him lay Fenja, covered with bricks and concrete, staring in horror at Lung. He now resembled a real dragon. With a height of more than five meters, standing on four limbs, he raised leathery wings towards the sky. The long neck was crowned with a relatively small head, still preserving human features. Under the right front paw of Lung lay Menja. Or would it be more correct to say lying around the paw? Because his limb was inside her belly.

Lung roared, and then pulled out a clenched paw, pulling out a whole heap of guts. His opponent was at least six meters tall, so she had a lot of guts. I even thought that Lung would strangle himself. That will be very laughful.

“Nessa!”  Fenja screamed in distress.

She threw the unconscious Kaiser on her shoulder, jumped off and kicked Lung with her foot right in the head. He collapsed heavily. Taking advantage of his confusion, the mask grabbed her sister's body, then ran away, dragging long ropes of giblets, covered with dust. No, if she is not given to Panacea right now, she will no longer be alive.

I looked from losers to the winner in this battle, meeting his eyes.

“Mortal Kombat, round two! Oh yeah, I need to introduce myself.” I took a few steps forward, wrapped in a thick canopy of darkness. “I am horror, flying on the wings of the night. I am a tax inspector who has found your black bookkeeping. I - retribution, like a brick falling on your head. I am the Black Cloak!”

“You're the snack on my holiday table.” - Lung responded. “I will eat you alive, and you will still have time to hear the crunch of your bones on my teeth.”

With these words, Lung rushed forward, intent on hitting me with his paw. I tried to stop him, but again I was surprised to find out that my telekinesis literally slips off his body. However, this was no danger to me. I could go at a supersonic speed from a spot, and then also stop abruptly. For the average person, it would look like teleportation. Very noisy teleportation, but still. I was faster than a bullet. So Lung couldn't even get close to me. I flew up to a height of a couple of tens of meters and began to study the reason why my telekinesis failed.

Of course, it was a symbiote. The transformation of Lung into a dragon took place due to the fusion of his physical body with the body of a symbiote. This sight was amazing... and disgusting. The symbiote did not simply touch the body, it penetrated inside and literally dissolved him in itself, turning a person into a chimera. Now the volume of the "dragon" exceeded the volume of the body of Lung a hundred times. That is why one cell of his body accounted for a hundred times more cells of the symbiote. Of course, this creature did not have a cellular structure, but it emulated it, following the inherent program of the ability.

Most of Lung's body had already dissolved, and only half of his head was human. The most intact part was the brain. I wonder how far he can go in his transformation?

My attempts to seize Lung by telekinesis were unsuccessful. Interaction was very weak. His body consisted of virtual matter created by a symbiote in our three-dimensional reality. It was under his direct control, but it was not himself, and therefore theoretically there was an opportunity to take control of him.

To keep Lung in a transformed state, I needed to somehow entertain him. For this, I began to grab the surrounding garbage, pieces of buildings, and the ground,where I bring them down on the enemy. After a dozen seconds, I surrounded the dragon with all this matter and even lifted him into the air. I also kept Night in similar way. But Lung proved that he is not for nothing, he is considered the strongest Brockton Bay mask. He literally exploded with fire. And it was not only Pyrokinesis, but also ... telekinesis. Very flawed, but still did the job and somehow better than my way.

The garbage scattered to the sides, revealing a flaming dragon that spun its wings and soared into the air, trying to reach me. Approaching, he exhaled a whole stream of flame that surrounded me from all sides. But all this could not do me any harm. Telekinesis did not allow the hot air to approach, and the darkness properly absorbed infrared radiation.

I continued my attacks, not forgetting to carefully observe all the actions of Lung’s symbiote. This battle was not only a chance to learn a strong mask, but also a way to hone my fighting skills, which results as a colorful show in which I showed my strength to the whole city. I could not boast of artistic expressiveness of telekinesis, and therefore I used the vivid image of Lung to show that all his power is nothing in front of me.

The longer our battle lasted, the more bigger Lung became. Soon he reached a length of twenty meters from nose to tip. Now there was nothing human in it. It was a European dragon with four legs, wings, a long tail and a long neck. Flames burst from the mouth, and small fiery tongues of fire slipped from under each scale.

By this time, there was nothing near that could be used as a weapon. All that was, we have already crushed everything to dust. So I began to collect soil in one piece and press it into the shape of huge stones. Alas, the strength of these stones was low, and they were falling apart from one blow.

Lung roared, jumped, flew, over and over again tried to get me either with his tail, his paws, or his mouth. I constantly eluded him, pretending that a little more, and he could get me.

I concentrated part of my consciousness on making a big hammer. I pulled out a piece of land with a diameter of more than twenty meters, and then began to compress it with all the strength available to me. A minute later, this mass shrank in half. Compression heated the rock, making it almost liquid. Heat gases escaped from the workpiece, while I increased the density of matter. In the end, I formed something like a pyramid from the melt and telekinetically began to reduce the movement speed of atoms. The hammer had cooled and was now ready for use.

Seeing an opportunity, I kept Lung in place by streams of formless matter, and then brought down my pyramid “hammer” on him with the flat side. There was a loud bang. I raised the pyramid and saw a flattened dragon lying at the bottom of a deep hole. Bang Bang BANG! I struck blows. After each of them, Lung flattened, but he was going to leap again and continued to resist. And most importantly - he began to grow even faster.

Another hit at the dragon met with a fist blow, from which my weapon split. I pushed him up, turned the tip of the split pyramid down and brought it down on Lung with all my might. The sharp pyramid pierced through his body. But he did not die, did not ask for mercy, but exploded with a flash of violent flames that finally destroyed my weapon. At the same time, the dragon has grown almost fifty percent. Now it was visible from all parts of the city. The sun had already set, the sky was overcast, but these clouds shone purple, reflecting the light of the fire that emanated from its skin. Lung roared in such a way that the entire city heard him exactly, and then he continued to attack me.

In order not to get lost against the background of this giant, I created a cloud of darkness around me and emulated the movement of huge tentacles striking. The formless blob absorbed all the light, but from time to time blue lightning flashes glittered inside it. Since I want to show my strength, it’s worth making the audience happy with the spectacle.

Lung grew and grew. Over time, he increasingly began to resemble an Asian dragon. His body lengthened and began to resemble a lizard, and then a snake. Now he flew no longer at the expense of the wings, but at the expense of telekinesis. Half an hour after the start of the battle, he was two hundred meters long and continued to grow. And then I noticed that Lung's ability to resist my telekinesis was weakening.

The strength of the dragon makes it so that during the battle it would constantly grow until it became ‘bigger and stronger than the enemy’. But the symbiote was not rubber. The larger the dragon became, the greater the ratio of the volume of the body of the symbiote to the volume of the pseudo-matter of Lung’s body. And now this ratio no longer allowed him to control his own body with the same efficiency. On the contrary, all this time I was trying to improve my control over the tentacles of the symbiote, in order to make it stronger and “harder” than my opponent.

In terms of body size, Lung's symbiote compared to mine was like a mouse in front of an elephant. But he had more experience, and he was also ruled by the beastly will of his master, who had refined his control over the years. Now I tried to learn all the best I saw from the enemy, plus adding my knowledge and skills.

And so, the turning point came when I was literally lit up, and I realized how I can fill the tentacles of the symbiote with my will, making them thousands and millions of times stronger. Moreover, the same principle could be applied to control magic, chakra and even Bahion. This method was not easy, but it was definitely effective. Therefore, I decided that this fight can already be ended.

For starters, I let Lung touch his paw or tail a few times. At the same time, my telekinetic tentacle literally sprayed his body at a short distance from me. After hitting me with a paw, I didn’t budge, and a hole was formed in Lung’s palm. I could kill him right now, but I wasn't going to do it. First, I do not want to "score points" for my symbiote. And secondly, it was worthwhile to mislead all viewers about my true abilities.

Having flown slightly to the side, I began to collect all available iron from the neighborhood. I pressed them into a ball, which began to warm up under the action of pressure. Plus, I applied my Pyrokinesis abilities, which also developed fairly well during the battle. Molten metal shrank even more, getting rid of all inclusions and gases. I already knew the principles of atomic separation for the nukes I made. I previously reproduced them based on chakra, magic, and then magical artifacts. Now I am doing it again, using the ability of the symbiote.

After a couple of minutes, I had a very large drop of chemically pure molten iron. Of course, it was very big compared to me. But compared with Lung, it was only a big drop. I squeezed it even stronger, translating it into a new phase state, heated it, and gave the metal the shape of a huge sword. It was a straight sword of the European type, on the blade of which huge letters in English were visible: DRAGON SLAYER.

With telekinesis, I sharply slowed down the movement of iron atoms, cooling the blade and giving it incredible strength. Near me in the air hung a huge monocrystal of iron. The strength of this material was several thousand times stronger than ordinary steel. It was relatively fragile due to poor resistance to crack propagation, but I neutralized this weakness by “feeding” the metal with the power of telekinesis and with my will. Now it was a weapon capable of piercing even the core of the planet.

Within all this time, Lung tried to get to me, but could not overcome the barrier of flying stones. Moreover, I constantly attacked him with these stones, dispersing them to great speed and entered on his scales, which only made him stronger.

The Dragon Slayer rushed forward like a lightning bolt and pierced Lung's body, entering the very hilt. The dragon tried to grab my weapon, but then it seemed to break through the seemingly invulnerable body, moving aside and flying away beyond the reach of Lung. Burning blood gushed from a wide wound, but there were no organs visible inside the body. It was all solid props.

The sword flashed once more, and the severed wing flew to the ground, leaving behind a trail of fire. Time after time I attacked Lung, inflicting wounds on him. The virtual body could not suffer much, but at the same time my blows wounded the symbiote, cutting off its tentacles, threatening to dismember it into several large pieces. There was a turning point in the battle, and Lung began to retreat. He roared, refusing to admit defeat, rushed at me more and more fiercely and quickly, already not paying attention to the injuries, trying to get me at any cost. But all his attacks were incapable of harming me. Even swallowing me, he only achieved the appearance of a hole leading from the mouth to the back.

The merging of Lung with the symbiote had another side effect. Every cell of his brain was now surrounded by a pseudo-material, which depicted the work of a dragon's brain. You just can not pretend to be smarter than you are. Symbiote was a blunt animal, and therefore Lung in the shape of a dragon was also no smarter than him. And as a fierce and brainless animal, he fiercely rushed at me, instead of trying to come up with some kind of plan, or at least retreat.

As a result, after another fifteen minutes, Lung fainted, collapsed to the ground with a shapeless gut and began to lose weight rapidly, regaining his human appearance. I picked him up by telekinesis and put him next to Demon Lee, who was lying on the roof of the only survived building within a kilometer radius. All this time I covered it, saving his life. I had a lot of fun. During this fight, my strength increased many times. That's what a good opponent means. Having pushed several veins in Lung's head, I made sure that he would not wake up ahead of time. Well, I’m finished with this animal, now it's Bakuda's time.

Having examined the baldness of total destruction formed on the territory of the city, I turned my eyes to a giant sword. I created it in a fit of inspiration, so I can hardly repeat something like that in the near future. The letters on the surface of the blade shimmered with crimson light. What is most interesting, it was not the result of the work of my symbiote. It was in some way reminiscent of magic, and in some ways the effect of Bakuda’s bombs. I decided to study this effect, but later.

Having unfolded the sword with the blade down, I thrust it into the ground. I plunged almost a third of the blade, but even so, the hilt is at twenty meters above the ground. Not bad, I’ve got a monument here. I focused, and on the surface of the blade appeared a lot of "holographic" inscriptions: ‘Property of Black Cloak’. Like the security images on banknotes, these inscriptions appeared at certain viewing angles. Sometimes it even seemed that they were inside the blade.

Having perpetuated my authorship in this way, I turned around and flew towards another ABB base. I expected that there was no one left, and everybody ran somewhere, but instead I found a building full of people ... and, of course, bombs. It is in the style of Bakuda. I wonder if she blows up herself with bomb, will it be considered that I killed her? Or symbiote will be attracted to the nearest kin?

Stopping in a couple of hundred meters from the building, I began to study the situation. My battle with Lung was somewhat beyond what was expected. Ash area with a diameter of two kilometers - this is serious. But at least not many people died there. I did not throw buildings with people to the dragon. Rather, I tore off the walls and roofs from them, enabling people to get away. Most of the real estate was destroyed by Lung with explosions and blows from his body. Still, the length of two hundred meters - it is a lot of volume. It was enough for him to simply crawl to raze the whole street with the ground.

Now I wanted to create an image of a heroic savior. And for this it was necessary to sort the people in the building into hostages and members of the ABB, neutralize the bombs and kill Bakuda and her minions. I was not going to arrange another battle. It will be enough just to make a work.

The study of the situation gradually shifted to the study of technologies used by Bakuda to create bombs. The more I looked at her creations, the more I realized that techies are just magicians. There was not a single gram of technology in their creations. But there was an obstinate belief in every heresy. Most of Bakuda’s bombs were ... three transistors, welded together in a special way. Here's how three pieces of silicon can explode, freezing everything in the neighborhood? Yes, nothing. This is magic, Harry.

The symbiotes did absolutely impossible tricks with the laws of the Universe, not caring about something trivial such as rationale. At least that was how it looked. A more detailed analysis revealed a picture of a limitless universe of dimensions, hiding behind the apparent of the physical three-dimensional world.

In a sense, techies still had to do with technology. If they had sufficient knowledge, they could influence the reality on the bare technique, without resorting to such substances as will, faith, energy of consciousness, and so on. But local techies replaced 99% of the desired impact with a symbiotic force.

If I may say so, it was the sixth type of magic known to me, despite the fact that the ability of my symbiote could not be called magic. Chakra and the magic of spiders were the first two. Behind them was the magic of people, the basis of which was faith and tradition. This fascinated captive souls in the world of demons. A separate discipline was ritual magic based on the use of divine laws — certain “Laws” of higher order entities, a kind of local rules for interpreting the laws of physics and magic.

The fifth kind was the use of Bahion. And the sixth was the physics of multidimensional space, known to symbiotes. My telekinesis was a commonplace interaction of multidimensional objects. The fact that no one can see tentacles of my symbiote has not yet indicated that there is at least a drop of mysticism in this. Now, with the ability of Panacea, I could grow to myself the exact same multidimensional limb and swing it by moving the circles and bending the spoons.

Sadly sighing, I decided to postpone the theoretical studies of this interesting field of natural science and return to our sheep. More precisely, to one sheep - stubborn Bakuda. This contagion connected the symbiote tentacles to all of its bombs in the bodies of people, so that her death would lead to an instantaneous explosion of everything.

But on the other hand, she is a techie. She does not even think that the source of her abilities is a symbiote, which can be mentally controlled. So, she thought up some technical device, which allegedly could send a signal to the bombs to explode. Carefully searching the only cape in the area, I made sure that there were some metallic inclusions in her chest.

The symbiote also had suspiciously close contact with her mask and rings on the toes. Most likely, Bakuda  uses them for remote bomb blasting. What is the most funny, traces of long wearing rings were on her left leg, which I shot a week ago. It seems that precisely because of this, Bakuda then decided to slip away. Now these rings were on the right foot. The left one was dragged into a plaster and supported by something like an exoskeleton.

Overall, my plan is pretty simple. For starters, defuse bombs. Then, to deprive Bakuda out of consciousness. Rescue the hostages and turn the rest into a bloody mess. In this circumstance, point one and two could be swapped.

I localized one of the hostages in the building about three hundred meters from me and tried to defuse his bomb. Alas, my attempt to detach the Bakuda tentacles immediately led to an explosion. A few more experiments have shown that bombs are in a state where the slightest outside interference leads to their explosion. I had to go to point two. I squeezed a few veins in the tech’s head and waited until she lost consciousness. But, alas, everything went completely differently than I expected.

After a couple of seconds, the eyes of Bakuda rolled up, and all of her bombs in the area were detonated. And what is most terrible, a large bomb, installed in the basement of the house where Bakuda was sitting, blowed up. It did not just explode, but instantly isolated a piece of space with a diameter of several hundred meters, and then began to crinkle and deform the laws of nature inside this area. I found myself at the very edge of the impact zone, but I could not simply escape. I felt the time inside the bubble begin to slow down. There was an urgent need to do something. However, the very type of impact on reality was already familiar to me. Clockblocker’s strength worked on the same principle.

For a start, I killed all the members of the ABB, Bakuda and her symbiote. It took less than half a second. Then I directed my symbiote’s tentacles to search for the path to salvation in multidimensional space. The image obtained from the symbiote said that it was possible to smuggle me into the discovered breach located in the future. I immediately agreed and experienced the most unforgettable movement I ever had. Symbiote literally took me to its hump along cunning footpaths of multidimensionality, and then dumped me into physical space a couple of blocks to the east.

Once in the normal world, I departed for another ten minutes, trying to put in my head everything that I had seen and perceive in the process of moving. Repeating such thing again ... No, no. It’s better to die than to experience it again. Brr.

After coming to myself, I focused on the outside world. Just a minute ago it was night, and now it was noon. Rushing around the neighborhood, I found an empty residential apartment, where I turned on the TV to find out what day it was. Pretty good, I got on the news channel. As I opened the window to get into the apartment and see what was happening on the screen, I listened to the speaker’s speech.

“... huddle the search jobs at the scene of the battle of villains. Already confirmed the death of more than a thousand people. More than fifteen thousand citizens were left homeless. For them, temporary detention centers have been established, where all those in need are provided with food, water and a roof over their heads. According to experts, these temporary camps may well become permanent. After all, even the destroyed houses at one time were built only as a temporary solution to accommodate the workers employed in the construction of the industrial area of the docks.”

Finally coping with the grilles, locks and traps, I got to the TV. Well, what a miserable life. How do they become like this I wonder - to put a bear trap on the window leaf. Thanks to it nobody did not steal the TV, and now I can watch the news on it. The date in the scrolling line at the bottom of the screen showed that today is Sunday, October 1, 2018 11:38. Less than a day has passed since the collision with Bakuda.

“In the meantime, the Governor’s Office together with the PRT and the Protectorate are planning to arrange a charity dinner, the funds from which will go to help the victims of the opposition of criminal groups. The Armsmaster and Miss Militia will be present at the dinner, as recently as last night captured Lung and his assistant Demon Lee. The whole city expresses its support to the heroes who saved the city from these villains.”

What, they captured them? Even after I show them epic and bloody battles? Those kill stealers! Well, that's it. Wait for me at the dinner party.

“Hey, you're up there, I'm not waiting for an invitation. Right now I will come, oh right now I will come ... Now I will come to visit you.”  Singing a catchy song, I left the apartment, locking all the locks back and alerting the traps.

Turning on the phone, I dialed Tattletale’s. While the beeps went on, I tried to use the symbiote in order to get information about what was going on “on the other end of the phone”. The sensations were rather blurry, but I “saw” how the girl grabbed the phone, looked at the number, said a few words to the teammates, and then almost ran to a separate room.

“I'm listening.”

“Hello. It's good that you keep acquaintance with me in secret from your comrades, but you could have picked up the phone early.”

“Black Cloak ...”

“And who else did you expect?”

“No one. We just had a discussion about our next mission.”

“Is that so?” I stretched more tentacles, reading the information. “An attack on a dinner party?”

“What? Where are you from ... you copied my power?”

“Guessed good. It's funny, but I'm going to get to this dinner too. Some questions to the Protectorate require discussion on live TV. So I need your informational support. Kindly find answers to a couple of questions?”

“Of course. But ... if you attack the meeting, our appearance will only be a minor event on this background. Coil will be displeased.”

“I will let you move first.”  I grinned. “And when you screw it up, I will come and save you.”

“Thank you, but I don’t want such a record, I would like to have my CV.”

“Seriously. I need answers to my questions.”

“Speak. I hope you can wait a few hours for answers?”

“No problem. Take the notebook in the drawer to your left and write it down. There will be many questions “

...

Putting the phone aside, I thought about what I was able to find out. Dinner will begin at eight o'clock in the evening. It will be attended by bumps from the PRT, the heroes of the Protectorate, Wards, representatives of government and business. The event will take place on the top floor of the Forsberg Gallery. It was a building with glass walls and a roof, built by the rich in order to splurge tourists. The higher the floor, the more pompous events took place there.

Not far from there was a building with the studio of the ZBS channel. This means that I can control the broadcast of the events of the evening live. It will only be necessary to visit the director of the department and give appropriate instructions.

At five minutes to eight I sat on the roof of one of the small-scale skyscrapers and watched the preparations for the beginning of the dinner. Guests preferred to arrive in advance, because at eight the official part had to start, which would then be broadcast on television. The fact that the image from the cameras will go live, no one knew, even the operator.

Two minutes later, on the roof of another neighboring building, taller than the gallery, a team of Undersiders appeared. Bitch began to increase their dogs, which took about ten minutes. All this time, the governor spoke at the dinner, who was crucified on the theme “how good it is that we all gathered here today.” When his speech ended, and there was a loud applause, the Undersiders began to act.

Three huge creatures, formerly dogs, jumped off and rushed forward in an insane jump, carrying riders on their backs. If I were in their place, I would not make this decision. Overcoming fifty meters, flying from one skyscraper to another. It is worth making them feel the consequences from what they are doing.

Telekinesis imperceptibly slowed down the movement of dogs. They hung in the air, and then they flew down, picking up speed. I heard echoes of a shrill screech. It seems to be the Queen of the Zerg. Stopping in the air at a height of ten meters from the road, the dogs soared vertically upwards and landed safely on the glass roof, which immediately collapsed under their weight.

I expected the Undersiders would try to take hostages, establish control over the premises or do something else, but it seems that my innocent joke knocked the whole fighting spirit out of them. Only Tattletale retained composure. After all, she knew who was behind all this, and that I would hardly want to kill them in such an absurd way. Queen of Zerg generally pissed herself, and now did not know where to hide.

The silence that was formed gave the PRT special forces enough time to react. Two of them looked at each other, tore off grenades from their belts and threw them at the frozen villains. These were foam grenades that released a rapidly hardening foam that could hold a not-so-strong mask. But there were no strong masks among the Undersiders.

Slamming loudly, the grenades worked, and the foam clouded the villains, burying them under themselves. The dogs tried to escape, but they were flooded with additional foam streams from special sprinklers. The streams of darkness flooded the floor, but this could not help the Undersiders to free themselves. It was a failure, captured on camera and broadcast live.

I think the time has come for my glorious appearance. I moved to the building, flew through the broken roof and dispelled the darkness around Grue. Cameras immediately focused on my figure.

“I am horror, flying on the wings of the night. I am the salvation that you did not expect. I am the plague during your feast. I am the Black Cloak!”

Nobody tried to stop me. The glory of a bloody butcher paralyzed people no worse than some superpowers. Downstairs, I stepped forward, while neutralizing the foam. I nibbled it in small pieces and threw it out onto the street. In just a few seconds, the Undersiders were freed, but remained standing behind my back. What else could they do if my telekinesis held them tenaciously in place?

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen.” I started my speech. “I heard that today the high society of Brockton Bay is gathering here, so I could not miss this event. Regarding on …”

And at that moment an arrow stuck in my chest right in my heart. I instantly focused, scanned the surrounding space and found the source of the problem. The Shadow Stalker was able to become non-material and deceive my sense of telekinesis. But only while I did not pay attention to her. Now I felt her with the tentacles, grabbed and materialized her in our world, crucified in the air like Christ.

“But doing such things are not necessary.” I said coldly, grabbing an arrow with my right hand and pulling it out of my chest. Not a drop of blood remained on the tip.  “Because in response, I usually do this.”

The body of the Shadow Stalker was bent, snapped by breaking bones in dozens of places, and then she was dispersed by bloody porridge and flew to the side, making red circle on the glass. There were women's cries, someone tried to run somewhere, but everyone froze, all they had to do was give away to my roar.

“STAND, AFRAID!!!”

Once again, I looked around the crowd, who had stuck in my telekinesis like flies into honey, and then continued my speech. The wound in the chest has long been healed, healed by my symbiote. But the cloak will have to be repaired.

“So, I will support our esteemed governor in his statement. I am also very glad that all of you have gathered here today to help the residents of Brockton Bay in these difficult times. I also want to help them. And above all, I want to help them find out the truth. The truth about how the PRT and the Protectorate brazenly deceive the public, attributing to themselves the merits of others and declaring as villains those who dared to encroach on their right to hang noodles on others.

“Do you have proof?” The voice of a newspaper reporter rang out from the side. Under my gaze, he turned pale, and even prepared to part with life.

“Of course.” I replied. “That is why I came here - to hold a press conference, answer your questions and ask my own. I ask the official representatives of the PRT and the Protectorate to come forward and introduce themselves. I have questions for you.”

There was an awkward silence, after which the Armsmaster and Miss Militia came forward.

“You do not intimidate us.” The Armsmaster spoke out harshly, taking his halberd with combat grip. “You will answer for all the murders you committed.”

“Let me in, I'll pass anyway.”  Pushing around, an unhealthy looking fat woman came forward. “My name is Emily Piggot. I am the head of the local branch of PRT.”

“Nice to meet you. It is good that at least someone here has an understanding of politeness and manners. Not like some caddies who rush into hollow threats.” The Armsmaster did not show anything on face, but he was internally embarrassed. Feeling like a dog who ate other’s meat. “So, Emily, I have a question for you. Today in the news I heard about how the Armsmaster and Miss Militia heroically captured Lung and the Demon Lee. Miss Militia even spoke on camera about her heroic battle with the Demon Lee. Do you know what really happened last night? Come on, tell me what happened according to you? “

“You, Black, and Lung staged a massacre at the southern docks, where more than a thousand people were killed.” Angrily expressed the director of the PRT. Judging by the quick gasping after expressing her opinion, she had heart problems.

“Firstly, my name is not Black, but Black Cloak. I advise you to remember this, because the next time, if I hear such an appeal to myself, I will immediately destroy the impudent one, as I did with the Shadow Stalker. Secondly, you just accused me of killing innocent people and conspiring with Lung. What a terrible nonsense you come up with. The brain in your head are completely rotten. Yesterday, the whole city saw me fighting Lung, and then I defeated him. And now I want to hear from the Armsmaster the truth about how he captured Lung, plus an apology.”

I waited a few seconds and continued.

“Come on, Armsmaster, if you do not answer my question, I will start to kill those people. One by one every minute.” Techie tried to rush at me, but naturally stuck in the air. “And then the whole country will see that for the Protectorate, concealing lies is more important than the lives of people.”

“Fine.” Gunsmith squeezed out the word begrudgingly. “What do you want to hear?”

“The truth. Only the truth. And if you deviate even slightly from the truth, then this woman will immediately die.”

I waved my hand elegantly, and one of the wealthy middle-aged ladies hovered in front of us, waving her arms helplessly. The techie looked at the hostage, looked absently at the characters surrounding him, and then spoke:

“Last night, we received a signal about the clash of two strong masks in the southern docks area. The combined team of Wards and Protectorate moved to the scene. We did not dare to interfere in the confrontation, focusing on saving the residents of the city. After Lung fainted and fell to the ground, I and Miss Militia moved to the center of the battle zone. Half an hour later, we found unconscious Lung and Demon Lee, who were immediately arrested and transported to the headquarters of the Protectorate. After that, we told reporters that we had seized the villains without clarifying the circumstances of the incident.”

“Well, uh ... it's not the whole truth, but it’s enough for the first time.” Frustrated, I stretched. “It’s hard to learn to speak the truth at once. By the way, I want to note that this is not the first time that the Armsmaster appropriates other people's merits. Last time, he also “arrested” unconscious Lung, taking Queen of Zerg’s right as the winner and threatening her to run away from the scene. And now, I want the Armsmaster to kneel and ask for forgiveness from the residents of Brockton Bay for cheating on them.”

“What? Get on my knees?” Armsmaster rebelled. “I am one of the leaders of the Protectorate.”

“Does this give you the right to deceive people and appropriate others' merits? Well, though, what am I asking? The protectorate was created precisely for this purpose. Right?”

The Armsmaster gritted his teeth, then knelt down and said:

“I apologize to all the residents of Brockton Bay for misleading them.”

“See, it's not that hard.” I praised him.

“You're a killer!” Armsmaster blurted out. “Confessions knocked out by threats have no power. No one will believe you.”

“Ha ha ha. They do not have the power in court. And now the whole city is watching and listening to us. Whole country.” Armsmaster in horror warped his face. “But let's forget about these envious losers, and I will tell you about what happened last night.

I looked at the audience. The Armsmaster remained on his knees. He, of course, made an attempt to rise, but with surprise he found out that my telekinesis is stronger.

“Yesterday, I decided to destroy the ABB criminal group. For a start, I discovered and executed about a thousand gangsters and their accomplices. After that, while I was fighting Demon Lee, Lung defeated Kaiser who appeared unexpectedly. Then I joined the battle with Lung and defeated him after almost an hour of confrontation. I think this moment was seen by the whole city. At the scene of the battle there is still a sword, with which I sliced Lung as a stick of smoked sausage.”

There were chuckles in the hall.

“Leaving Lung and Demon Lee unconscious, I headed to Bakuda, holding several hundred people hostage. I managed to destroy the villain and all the members of the ABB in the district, but many of the hostages were caught in an explosion of time-slowing bombs. I think they can still be saved. It is enough to wait until the end of the effect of stopping time. That's the whole story. Maybe someone has questions? If possible, I will answer them.”

My little lie about saving the hostages could not be refuted. The area of freezing gradually poured darkness due to the inhibition of the movement of light. And the earliest it would be cancelled is no earlier than a thousand years

“What are you hiding under the mask? Who are you really?”

“I’m afraid that if I answer this question, I’ll have to kill you all. I can only say one thing: under this mask is a man for whom the concept of justice is not an empty phrase.”

“What about the people you killed? Killing them is a crime.”

“I didn’t kill people, but only animals that pretend to be people: drug addicts, drug dealers, bandits and other niggas.” With these words, a whole crowd of goosebumps ran down the back of Darkness. I just smiled, catching this emotion.

“Are you a nationalist?”

“No.  I equally hate all people, regardless of the color of their skin.”

“Will you continue killing people?”

“Of course. The world is still full of all sorts of geeks who are unworthy of living on Earth.”

“And who decides whether a person is worth living or not?”

“What a stupid question. Of course I am. I am the law, the judge and the executioner. I am the Black Cloak!”

“Maybe you should take the name Black Executioner?”

“This is ... worth considering. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha.”  I laughed the classic laugh of a mad villain.

“Why do you oppose drug dealers? People buy drugs themselves.”

I looked at the questioner.

“I see that you are a drug addict with experience. Heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, and all this for at least two years. Here is what I tell you before breaking to pieces” I pulled the drug-addict to me and showed the public. “Drugs destroy consciousness. Once injected, and you're no longer a man. For the sake of the dose, the addict is ready to sacrifice any interests of the people around him. Theft, robbery, extortion - these are typical ways to make money to buy drugs.”

“If you compare people with ants, the drugs do not kill the ants, but the anthill. Turn civilization into a crowd of brainless cattle. The fight against drug addiction and crime is a way to clean the society from the cancer that struck it. You do not protest against the removal of a cancer tumor on the lungs that among the cancer cells even if there are healthy innocent cells. If you do not do it immediately, the tumor will kill the whole body. I want to build a crime-free society at Brockton Bay. To do this, it is necessary somehow to get rid of a noticeable quarter of the population. So get ready. Honest people can live in peace, but it’s better to kill out any scum from the city right now.”

With these words, I revealingly dismembered a drug addict, despite the cries of his relatives. Some of the masks tried to stop me but only resulted in a twitch, because I held them by the balls via telekinesis.

“More questions?”

“You are not afraid of Protectorate’s revenge? You just killed one of their masks.”

“Let them come. Eye for eye, life for life. This fool attacked me and tried to kill me. I did the same. I did it, she does not. I will not make a fuss with the criminals who attack me, whatever positions they occupy in any kinds of organizations.

I looked around the hall and turned my attention to several helicopters circling near the building.

“Well, gentlemen. The time of our meeting has come to an end. I want to note that I came to this dinner to support the residents of the city. But I’m not going to donate money, which the bureaucrats will steal anyway. With the help of my strength, I will build houses for those who are homeless.”

“Mister Black Cloak, wait.” The governor of the city burst forth. “Can you save my niece? She was kidnapped ten days ago, and neither the police nor the PRT can find her tracks.”

“What is her name?”

“Dina Alcotte.”

“I'll see what I can do with it. Goodbye.”

With these words, I flew into the air, taking the Undersiders with me. They meekly accepted their fate, not even trying to resist.

“And what the fuck was that?” Bitch was indignant when we landed on the roof of one of the buildings at the docks.

“Your dogs could not jump to the next building?”  I innocently asked.

“Not funny.” Regent interrupted, twisting his rod in his hands. “In your opinion, do you think they changed their mind when they’re close to touching the very earth and decided to reach the building’s roof?”

“Ha ha ha. That was a very funny joke.”

“Because of you, we almost got caught.” Grue was outraged, not particularly persistent. He understood that with my abilities I could kill them all without any effort. He was also the only Negro here, and therefore considered himself to be in particular danger. Eternally, these niggas seek to push out their own exclusiveness.

“Blame yourselves for this. There was nothing to stand with such in a pose as if you had just fallen from a skyscraper.”

“Okay, that's enough.” Intervened Tattletale. “Black Cloak decided to attend the event at the same time as we, and we should not blame him for that. Especially since you really stood still like idiots until we were filled with foam.”

“Do you protect him?” The Zerg Queen was surprised.

“He saved your life, you fool. Shut up and do not open your mouth at all, pisser.” Tattletale whispered in her ear. The lady of the flies from such a collision was embarrassed and tried to hide from us behind the dogs. I did not allow any insect closer than ten meters. And without them, the mask felt like a lost ant.

“Well, that was funny. But the next time choose a task that corresponds to the level of your abilities. For example, look for lost dogs, drive flies away in the afternoon nap, protect the same nap from the rays of the sun. I hope you are aware of my laws? Do not kill, do not steal, do not stab, and so on. In this city, you either observe my laws, or are torn apart in attempts to establish justice. Good luck.”

I soared into the air and disappeared into the darkness of the night. Grue also surrounded his team with darkness and hurried to his base.

The next morning I went to school. I already copied the abilities of Panacea and Glory to myself, and now it was worth copying the other Wards. For example, Kid Win. He’s a techie, and this direction of development now interested me the most.

“Hi, Eros. How was your trip?”  Clockblocker, who’s currently Dennis, greets me.

“Fine. Hey Dennis, when I was browsing the internet, I found out about the dinner party live broadcast. It was quite a spectacular dinner.” Classmates and my girlfriend decided to go to the dinner party to enjoy Friday, I made up an excuse about the fact that I needed to go to my parents in Boston to explain my absence as I was playing hero at that time.

“Yes, it was a crazy event.” Dennis agreed. I saw him at dinner in the back rows. “Piggot was furious. Oh!”

Clockblocker covered his mouth with his hands. He just gave me his identity to the Wards.

“Yes, do not worry.” I slapped him on the shoulder. “I can identify any cape by one touch.”

“You still don't want to join the Wards?”

“After watching the angry speech of the Armsmaster, and then the entire list of reports, how can you convince me? No thanks. I do not want that trouble.”

“Yes, this bureaucracy is killing me.”

“What is killing you, Dennis?” Kid Win approached us, he is my main goal at the moment.

“Hello, Chris. Laws, rules and regulations. I am already thinking of going to Black Cloak’s  team. He has simple laws.”

“Are you serious?”

“Of course not. But the bureaucracy and the writing of reports are making my liver squirm. ‘ I will go to the Black Cloak, whom I dislike shall urinate in their general direction. ’"

“Oh, you joker.”

Done talking, we walked from the locker room to class. There I greeted Panacea with a kiss and joined the society of carefree students.

After the end of the second lesson the director came into our class.

“Children. Today’s classes are canceled. I ask you to go home. Have a nice day everyone.”

“What is going on?”  I turned to Panacea.

“We have a class in which the Wards study. So in case of emergencies, the entire class is dismissed in order to not reveal the identities of the masks.”

“I see, do you know what is the emergency?”

“Sorry, but no. I need to go to the hospital. Once classes were canceled, there will be a lot of wounded.”

“Ok, good luck. Will see you tomorrow. Or call by phone, if you decide to visit. I will go to the slot machine hall.”

The people scattered, and I moved home. Maybe I should also make my base in the docks? And I should constantly carry my suit in a backpack, and get to the center and back by vehicle transport.

At home, I sat down and access the Internet via my toaster laptop, extracting information from it. Forums and news sites as always, are seething with shit, but today this shit stream was especially full-flowing.

To begin with, in the morning someone posted on the Internet all information of the masks of the Empire Eighty Eight. And by “all” I mean everything: real names, residential address, place of work, vile personal habits, and so on. By the nature of the information and the details, I would bet that it was the work of Tattletale. But my power told me that it was not. Behind this was a master mind at work, though Tattletale still had some but not entirely clear relation to this.

Then PRT woke up after yesterday's shame and unfolded in the media about information on my slandering. My codename was changed from Black to Black Executioner, thousands and millions of dead victims were recorded in the atrocities, and now they turned the brainwashing propaganda around the zombie box, where they called upon the heroes to unite in the face of danger and give me a furious judgement. Well, something like that.

I have long since taught the symbiote to deflect the tentacles of clairvoyants from me, like Tattletale. But today they flickered around on an unprecedented scale. I had to switch to the new mode - I did not just reject other people's tentacles, but cut them off and fed them to my symbiote. This required constant tension, because in order to effectively confront other symbiotes, I had to feed the "cutting tentacles" with my will.

To make it so that life doesn’t seem like all honey, the PRT accompanied by the heroes of the Protectorate broke into the house of Purity and kidnapped her daughter. She, naturally, could not stand it, but for some reason she rushed to attack not the headquarters of the PRT, but the long-suffering docks, breaking the last surviving buildings there.

And the cherry on the cake was the attack of a swarm of hornets on the school of Winslow, where more than a hundred students died from their bites. Looks like now I know where the Zerg Queen went to school. However, knowing the infamous cancer-like local public, I am surprised that there were only a hundred victims.

I turned on the TV and came across a live broadcast where it showed Purity destroying buildings. Then she got to the operator and expressed her ultimatum to ... Undersiders. It seems like there’s something wrong with her head. And besides, she’s trashing my city without asking me for permission. Find and punish!

Today I decided to use the system of underground express tunnels, that is, drain sewers. All I had to do was go down to the basement, and then open the door leading to the network of underground passages. On them I flew pretty quickly, having emerged to the surface already at the docks. Maybe, well, fuck hiding my anonymity! I will publicly declare myself as God of Brockton Bay so I will walk everywhere without hiding? Anyway, local games with cloaks and masks do not attract me.

Having flown into the air, I spread my tentacles around the neighborhood and began to search for Purity, at the same time examining the surroundings. The malicious violator of my laws was found on clouds of dust rising from destroyed buildings. I caught a glimpse of her and found quite a few injured and even more dead. And here is her crime.

“Are you completely overfucked, stupid brainless bitch?” I addressed to Purity, flying up to a distance of five meters.

“Are you with them?!” She screamed with epileptic voice.

“I work for myself, to my own. Why the fuck are you smashing my city?”

“They took my daughter !!!”

“Well, then go and thunder PRT’s headquarters, or drown the tower of the Protectorate! Why did you came into the docks and put ultimatums here to the Undersiders? Maybe due to the fact that you are simply afraid to face the PRT, and therefore you are trying to harass those who just can not resist?”

“Give me back my daughter!” Purity emitted hundreds of rays that pierced through the surrounding houses.

“Why do you do this? I didn't kidnap her.”

“It's your fault!” It seems that this fool is unable to communicate as a proper human. “Bring back, to me, my DAUGHTER!!!”

This time the rays of light rushed straight towards me. I had to fill the surrounding space with darkness, and then also deflect the racing photon charges with my tentacles. It’s kind of pleasurable, I can tell you. It's like trying to turn a pancake in a pan, using only your hands. Of course, I could just dodge, but I need to test my defense.

In response to the blatant aggression, I surrounded Purity with darkness, and then I began to break open her defensive fields, in parallel injuring her symbiote. Filling tentacles with my will turned out to be extremely effective. Now I tried to use this technique as often as possible so that I do not forget how to do it.

Any idiot would have guessed the idea of “fill magic with your will.” Here, only having an abstract idea of what needs to be done compared to having a concrete understanding of how this can be done are two different things. If it were not for the almost random enlightenment in the battle with Lung, I would never understand how this is possible.

After a dozen seconds, the resistance of Purity abruptly subsided, and I launched my lustful tentacles inside her body. So, what we have here? Oh What an interesting symbiote! This blonde does not use its abilities even by ten percent. It is necessary to deposit this tasty piece somewhere so that it will not be lost.

I looked around and headed for the coast. Here was the area, which the locals called “Ship Graveyard”. There are dozens and hundreds of rotting ships of various sizes. I began to collect them with telekinesis, crush, heat, and clean from impurities. This time I did not need the extra purity of the metal, so after five minutes, I collected a sufficient amount of metal and formed a high tower from it. On its outer surface was a narrow circular staircase, along which there were prison cells. The doors for cells not planned by project.

I chose one of the chambers almost at the very top, covered its insides with wooden boards that I found nearby, set up a hole in the floor as a toilet, and then threw Purity inside. Then I pierced her symbiote several times so that it would not rock the boat, and destroyed Purity’s brain area called the “Crown of Pollentia”, through which ordinary mortals could exchange information with the symbiote. Now, Purity has lost all of her super-duper-forces and has become an ordinary person.

I covered the outer part of the chamber with a layer of metal and welded it to the tower. Now Purity could interact with the outside world only through a small barred window.

“Think about your behavior, bitch.” I told her at last. “You just killed a bunch of people, and there wasn’t even any benefit to you or others.”

“My daughter!” she croaked.

“You will hardly ever see her. I'll give chance to Theo, your son. I hope he have more brains than you.” At this I turned and flew away, not listening to the plaintive cries and lamentations.

This tower shall be called Tower of the Black Lord, it remains only to fill it with slaves and prisoners, cut a huge fiery eye from above, and I can declare myself Sauron. And, yes, it will still be necessary to stamp the all-powerful rings and distribute them to the most useful minions.

I headed straight to the city center, where PRT headquarters were located. There was also a base of guards. The protectorate dwelt on an oil-producing platform in the bay, and I was going to deal with them a little later.

When I got to the building I wanted, I searched it from top to bottom and found Emily Piggott by body shape. I entered her office and broke straight through the window. In addition to the director of the Investigation Committee, there were Armsman, Miss Militia, Aegis and some unknown cape in a red suit.

“Well, well, well. Caught at the crime scene.” I smiled at them. “Don't get up, I'm not your boss ... for now.” I held the most frisky capes with telekinesis, pressing them to the chairs. “What can you say in your excuse? Speak, Emily Piggot.”

“What do you think you’re doing?” This lady gave out as soon as I returned her ability to speak. “Do you even know what you are doing?”

“Hmmm ... Let me think. Putting presumptuous maniacs in place which threatens the residents of the city?”

“That’s you! You maniac!” The Armsmaster shouted, frantically creaking with his suit in an attempt to overpower my telekinesis.

“The city must be saved from you and your justice.” Says Emily steadily while glancing at me, then proceed to glare with displease at Armsmaster.

“Come on? Maybe you think that I kidnapped the daughter of Purity. Or maybe I am manipulating the media to spread the obvious lie? In general, I have no desire to fight you with your  methods. I have my favorite method. Only mass executions will save the nation.”

“By what right do you decide who should live and who should die?” Piggot did not give up, balancing on the verge of a heart attack. The security staff started knocking on the door of the room with something heavy, but telekinesis could hold the door in place even if it were turned into dust.

“Again, these stupid questions. By right of the strong. After all, this is the right you are using, trying to demonize me, aiming to tame your dogs to go against me who’s displeasing you for going against your likings. I am unfamiliar with all those present here, and therefore, I will leave alive a couple of possibly innocent people so that you bring my words to the public. This city belongs to me, and only my laws are valid here. If you break them, punishment will follow immediately. I am tired of appealing to your common sense, and I can only rely on the fear of death and the horror of the inevitability of punishment. Die”

While I was making this entire speech, I scanned the abilities of the Armsmaster and Miss Militia. The shooter couldn't interest me at all with the original, but the techie was somehow inexpressive. If you do not count the skill of creating spatial pockets, then Armsman is nothing special. Unless to copy other's caps’ inventions.

So after a second, Emily Piggot was dispersed into bloody dust, while Armsmaster and Miss Militia lost all their equipment, clothing, and abilities. With a couple of living trophies, which are the masks, I flew out the window, heading for my tower. On the way, I flew to CNN’s studio, where I diligently dispersed all the workers, starting from the director, and ending with a cleaner.

Moving towards the tower, I stumbled upon an interesting scene. In the middle of the street lay an upside down ambulance van. Next to it stood Queen of Zerg and Grue. And in front of them stood a three Imperial masks - Hookwolf, Stormtiger and Cricket. Without slowing down, I picked up these three and carried them to the sky, like an eagle carrying a helpless prey. The corpses of people that I found in the neighboring streets testified to the fact that they are breaking the laws.

The capes shouted loudly, cursed, and Stormtiger even tried to attack me, but everything was useless. A minor issue arose only with the Hookwolf. He was a typical werewolf, so his body was mixed with the body of the symbiote, but I just filled my tentacles with will and grabbed him, despite the resistance.

When I reached the tower, I repeated the procedure of deprivation of abilities with the masks of the Empire, after which I shoved them into the cells and began to analyze their abilities in a more relaxed atmosphere. According to the study, Hookwolf and Cricket were found to be completely useless. And given the reliably known number of victims of Hookwolf, I decided to use him to conduct an interesting experiment.

I was interested in the system of "growing up" symbiote. Or rather, is it part of the game, or is it something more mundane? To clarify the answer to this question, I placed the Hookwolf  in a large steel cube with several holes, and then with telekinesis threw it toward the sea. According to my calculations, the cube flew about thirty kilometers before falling into the sea. After waiting fifteen minutes, I was convinced that the state of my symbiote did not change. So either Hookwolf grew up gills, or indirect damage is not considered a cause of death. Or it’s all about distance.

I wanted to repeat this experience with Cricket, but my power told me that a call from Tattletale had come to the phone in my apartment. It took me a couple of minutes to find her location and to get my telekinetic tentacles around her, with which I could catch and reproduce sound.

“Alo-Alo, Black Cloak on the phone.” I said to the Tattletale under the ear.

“What? Where? Black Cloak? Where are you?”

“I am far from you, on the shore of another day, but even time cannot hinder me. Okay, jokes aside. I responded to your call for help. What have you got there?”

“Actually, I called to warn that the Protectorate announced a general mobilization. From minute to minute, several dozens or even hundreds of heroes will arrive in the city and try to kill you.”

“Yes-ah? It will be fun. After Lung, I need new sacrifices in order to become stronger.”

“You ... you are impossible! This is not a game! This is all for real.”

“And here you are mistaken, this is a game. But you really shouldn't know about it. Otherwise, you will meet with a player, and this, believe me, is not at all something that I wish to my friend.”

“What are you talking about?”

“All right, forget it. Perhaps I should lure all these heroes to the docks, and then explain to them who is in charge here. As I understand this region has such a fate to be razed to the ground by a herd of insane capes. So, if you have a desire to, you can spill to the Protectorate with “reliable information” that I am hiding in the docks and trembling in wild horror. Yeah, that’s a genius plan!”

“Uh-uh ... good. Are you sure about what you are doing?”

“Heh. Do not make me laugh. In this city I am the only person who knows what I am doing and why I need it. Just take a seat comfortably and watch the battle of fucking epic scale. Bye.”

I ‘disconnected’ from communication and concentrated on my surroundings. So, I still need the tower, but it is worth protecting it from crazy shots. So, I need to hide it. It is not so high, soI can just bury it. With telekinesis, I pulled the rock out from under the tower, lowering its height from two dozen to two meters. It was not very convenient to bury it all, because the ventilation of occupied cells could be disrupted.

After that I flew to the city center, hiding behind the houses. If I am going to fight with the strongest capes, then it is worth doing so that I could not suffer in principle. Now my control over telekinesis allowed me to control a matter at a distance of five kilometers which is ten times my previous ability. And this number still continued to grow. So I can hide near the city center and fight in the docks via my telekinesis. And my protection from prophets will not allow anyone to find me. Well, I hope so. Although it is worth being on the lookout.

Time on the clock was half past one, when masks began to appear on the roof of the PRT building. Fifteen minutes later their number reached hundreds. Some time was spent on making ardent speeches, after which those who were born to fly rose into the air, and the rest crawled along the ground using various kinds of transport.

At that time, I depicted my presence at the docks near the warehouse, where I once killed a hundred Merchants . While the heroes were getting to me, my voice echoed throughout the city, drowning out the brainstorming speeches coming from the speakers of the city alert.

“The villains of the Protectorate, you came to this city uninvited to encroach upon the legitimate authority in my face. I am the Black Cloak, and this city belongs to me. Your empire of lies and deception has no power here. Get the hell away, or I'll destroy all of you. The weapons that you lash at me shall be the end of your reign! You first started this war. I have long treated you with prudence, but my patience is exhausted. Now my strength will speak for me. Die in agony, monsters!”

My "body" was surrounded by streams of darkness, which stretched with tentacles and "grabbed" nearby heroes. All the shots, blows and other abilities just passed through my props, while I, with telekinesis squeezed blood vessels in the heroes' brains, waited until they fainted, then under the cover of darkness carried them to the tower I created.

The rest was an epic battle for the heroes and a boring chore for me. Grab, neutralize, store. Few heroes could resist me. Of the triumvirate, only Legend was present. He, like a few more masks, completely surrounded himself with the body of a symbiote, which made him almost invulnerable. But my extreme concentration on one tentacle allowed me to make it almost a unique conductor of my will, which was enough to pierce any target.

I tried not to kill anyone. If I thought the mask’s abilities were interesting, then I deprived them of consciousness and kidnap them. The rest I wounded or just drove away. As time went on, after an hour, they were only able to continue the fight with only a dozen masks. Eidolon and Alexandria did not appear. Finally, all this bothersome fuss finally got to me, and my thunderous voice again echoed over the city.

“The villains of the Protectorate, you lost. Your stupid perseverance has already cost the lives of thousands of people who died under the rubble of houses. I still hoped that you would come to your senses, but you continue to persist in your heresy. Therefore, I will kill one of you every five seconds until you all leave the city. Countdown started from… now.”

Five seconds later I killed one of the capes, “shooting” with a brick using telekinesis. The stone literally evaporated the head of my victim. The wounded masks tried to hide, but over and over again I found them and destroyed them. After a minute, the retreat began, which after another thirty seconds turned into a random retreat.

Only Legend remained hanging in the air, refusing to admit defeat. He was covered in blood, his suit was torn to shreds, but he still continued to fly and shoot with his “rays of kindness”.

“What are you up to?”  I personally addressed him.

“I will destroy you !!!”

“For what?”

“You are killing heroes.”

“What kind of heroes? You are villains. You are destroying the population of this city. You filled the news on TV channels with flow of lies. You attacked me. You cover crime, instead of fighting it.”

“You are lying!”

“Ha ha ha ha. Your tantrum is proof that I am right. You are aggressors, liars and manipulators. You are villains. You are ready to sacrifice all the people of this city, just to not let them get out of your control. The blood of all those who died today is on your hands. They died for your rotten ideology, for the interests of others, for the sake of your lies.”

“Shut up !!!”

“No, I will not be silent. On my side is truth and justice. I give you five seconds, after which you die.”

Legend confusedly looked at me, looked around the battlefield, looked at the corpses of his comrades, then sharply accelerated and took off into the distance. Tears filled his face, and his mouth curled in sobs. Leaving the city, he admitted his defeat. He acknowledged the meaninglessness of the deaths of all those whom he had led. I think he will not recover soon from such a psychological shock after being invincible all this time.

For the rest of the day I fumbled in my Tower of the Dark Lord, filling it with valuable specimens. I need to think over how to take care of their warmth and how to feed the prisoners. In the meantime, I just preoccupied with heating the prison, so that my captives do not huddle from a banal cold. Outside the window, the season is currently not warm.

Already in the evening I visited the studio of the ZBS channel, where I made a victorious speech that the villains of the Protectorate were defeated and their false speeches were exposed. At the question and answer stage, I was asked:

“What do you think, what will be the next step of the Protectorate and the PRT?”

“No idea. They were already convinced that they could not resist me. All they have left is to incite one of the Endbringer to Brockton Bay, or even all three at once.”

“Do you think the Protectorate is behind the Endbringer?”

“It is quite likely. Hundreds of masks die every year, but the core of the Protectorate does not change. If it comes to that, there are many ways to get rid of the Endbringer. But the Protectorate always leads the capes to the slaughter. They are on their "example" show how to be killed by the destroyer. At the same time, they themselves remain unscathed, and all those who believed them die. I think this is all have a hidden reason.”

“I do not know what to say. And what are the ways to get rid of the Endbringer you say?”

“You will know soon. When one of them come here, I'll show you.”

After an interview on television, I began to clean the city of criminal elements. Brockton Bay was practically under siege because government forces surrounded it and blocked it. The police could not cope with the maintenance of order, and every trash poured out onto the streets of the city, clearly believing that my warnings did not concern them. I had to dissuade them in this, for one scanning the minds of people in search of answers to the questions: “Did you sell drugs? Have you robbed people? Have you raped female/male/animal/corpses?” If at least one question was answered yes, then such a person is immediately dismembered on the spot with my telekinesis. I collected corpses from all over the city at the docks, where I cremated and scattered the ashes through the air.

By midnight, mentally exhausted, I went to bed.

In the morning I remembered my promises and began to fulfill them. To begin with, I found the daughter of Purity in the shelter and delivered her to the closest relative - Theo Anders, her maternal brother. As it turned out, the Kaiser did not survive the battle with Lung. The subsequent attempt to make a mess in the city was an amateur job of the Empire’s masks, left without leadership.

The next step, I took up the request of the governor of the city and Tattletale, and went to look for Coil. The blockade of the city played into my hands, where he could not escape. It took me almost half an hour to find him using my abilities. The power of clairvoyance was constantly failing, but at one point I got the exact location of Coil, which I immediately went to. I was interested in the power of the prophet, and I was going to explore it.

The base of Coil was underground. The main entrance was well guarded, but the emergency exit was only locked with simple locks. But what is a lock for a person who owns telekinesis and is capable of clairvoyance to see the principle of his work, or any digital combination? So I entered Coil’s office, taking him by surprise.

“Good afternoon, Coil.” I greeted him right under his ear, standing behind his back. Only Coil and Dina Alcot were in the room. She saw my appearance, but was in no hurry to notify her captor.”

“What? Black Cloak? How did you get here?” Responded the villain who almost jumped.

“Well, for starters, I walked, walked and walked, and then here I am. What? Why are you so surprised?”

“But ... your appearance was not in the predictions.”

“Yes, talking about the strength of this girl?” I walked to the child, who looked like a prisoner of Buchenwald, and laid a hand on her head. Healing power ran through her, clearing from drugs, restoring the body and rubbing drug addiction in her memory. “Tell me child, what is the probability that I am here and now?”

“Zero point zero percent.”

I smiled slyly..

“What is the probability that I will break off a piece from this table with hand right now?

“Zero point zero percent.”

I defiantly walked over to the table where Coil was sitting, and broke off a piece from the corner. Naturally, I did this with telekinesis, but it looked like I used brute strength.

“See, her power does not affect me. She just couldn't see how I would appear here.”

“What do you want?” The forehead of Coil was covered with perspiration.

“People says that you can control the fate of people. I want to check how it works. See this cube?” I showed the dice in my hand with the gesture of a magician, pulling it out of my sleeve. “Now I will throw it on the table, and if a six falls out, then I will tear off your left hand. Dina, what is the chances that Coil will lose his hand?”

“Sixteen point, sixty-six hundredths of a percent.”

“See? Everything is fair. I will not manipulate the cube. Everything will decide the fate.”

I threw a dice, and a three fell on it. Coil jerked, but could not budge. My telekinesis kept him in place better than any shackles.

“Lucky. Again. What is the probability, Dina?”

The girl smiled with sadistic smirk and replied:

“Sixteen point, sixty-six hundredths of a percent.”

I threw the die again. On the top of dice was one. I literally felt that at the moment of the throw something happened to the future.

“I think it is worth increasing the chances. Now I will tear off your left leg if an even number falls out. What are his chances of staying with two legs?”

“Fifty percent exactly.” The grin on Dina's face turned into a grin of a hungry shark.

I threw a dice ten times in a row and every time an odd number fell out. The more I watched this situation, the better I understood how the power of Coil works. He literally created two lines of fate, reducing all possible probabilities to these two options. And then from two options, he chose the one that suited him more. After that, his fate was predetermined. And what's more, even my destiny was in a rigid framework, despite all my resistance. It is an interesting experiment.

Ten minutes later, after the next cube tossing, Coil finally lost consciousness. There was blood from his nose, and the whites of his eyes reddened with multiple hemorrhages. I cured him with the help of my strength, but did not continue the torture. Coil’s symbiote was also on the verge of losing consciousness.

“I think we are done for today.” I said, taking the girl to hand. “You already understood that you are powerless against me?” During these ten minutes, I have watched at least a hundred virtual attempts of Coil trying to kill me or flee. All of them ended in terrible injuries for him.

“Y-yes.” Squeezed out the villain.

“Wonderful. So I do not advise you to try to escape from the city or even from its center. If I feel like it, I'll kill you right there.”

“Understood!”

“Dina, what is the likelihood that Coil will die before tomorrow morning?”

“Ninety-three and seventy-one-tenth percent.”

“What?”  I freaked out.

“This answer does not take into account your actions.”

“But I'm not going to kill him today. And I am not going to allow it to anyone.”

“The chances haven't changed.” Dina slightly frowned. “My head starts to hurt again.”

“Good. Come on, I'll take you to your parents. I can find answers without your help. By the way, what is the probability that you will survive today?”

“Zero point, three thousandths of a percent.” In the girl's voice panic was felt.

“Something is not very good.” I sympathized. “But as you said, this chance does not take into account my intervention. And I need you alive.”

The path to the surface was accompanied by panicked whispers of the mercenaries guarding the base. For them, my appearance was akin to teleportation. I think even Coil did not understand how I got to him. After all, before entering the room, I broke the security cameras there, and the sound of the door opening was muted by telekinesis.

After returning the girl to the joyful parents, I climbed onto the roof of the nearest high-rise building and sat there, watching the sea. The sight was frightening. Thousands and millions of tentacles were stretched out over the horizon toward the city. And these were only the longest ones. There in the distance was a symbiote of frightening proportions. Perhaps it was even comparable to mine. It was smaller, but much older. It seems that my words about the invasion of the Endbringers were prophetic. But now every inhabitant of the Earth will be convinced that behind the attacks of the Endbringers is the Protectorate.

An hour later, a barely noticeable tsunami wave appeared on the horizon. An alarm signal rang throughout the city. People fled to shelters or tried to hide in the nooks and crannies of the suburbs. The heroes of the Protectorate left the city yesterday, taking the Wards with them. New Wave, too, was able to agree on the evacuation, so that Panacea left without even saying goodbye to me. On the Internet, news of the imminent attack of Endbringers on Brockton Bay was already being discussed, but there were no rumors about the mobilization of the Protectorate’s heroes. Apparently, they decided that I myself can handle the disaster. And in general, they were not at all mistaken, although they predicted on the exact opposite result that I wanted.

I sent the teams of Undersiders, Faultline and Trickster, to help with the evacuation of residents. The remnants of the Empire and Coil received an ultimatum: either they help the residents, or I personally kill them before the Endbringers gets to the city. So now I was sitting on the roof of the tallest Brockton Bay building in the center of an almost depopulated city. What is the most ridiculous, the siege from the city was not lifted, in connection with which there were rumors spread by me on the Internet that the Protectorate decided to destroy all the inhabitants of Brockton Bay to the last. After all, they were "undesirable witnesses" of my triumph.

The wave came to the shore, overtook the tanker stuck in the fairway and began to roll on the city, becoming higher and higher. I waited until it almost reached the shore, after which I used telekinesis to lift into the air the whole “bulging” part of the wave, thus completely ceasing its existence. Millions of cubic meters of water swept through the air and scattered as rain poured back into the sea outside the bay. The spectacle was epic. Two dozen video cameras flew at different distances from me, taking pictures of everything that happens. Then, it will be necessary to edit the film to make it similar to a movie that tells the epic about my divine scale feat.

The water in the center of the bay swelled to a hill, and on the surface it appeared - the Endbringer himself, Leviathan. My power said that this was a “wild” symbiote, with no clear owner. Of course, there were certain nuances, but the point was that the owner of the lost living creature was not around. Only the symbiote itself came to fight without its master, which was somewhat more difficult.

While I indulged in philosophical reflections, Leviathan spun on the spot, sending another wave to the city, and then with a supersonic speed rushed to the docks. What? I dashed against him, but did not have time. The Leviathan reached my Tower of the Dark Lord and brought down streams of water, immediately smashing and tearing it up.

“No-oooo !!! My stocks of symbiotes! He ate them !!! What will I eat in the winter? !!”

In anger, I hovered over the place of the mass death of the masks, after which I filled several tentacles with my will and pierced the Leviathan with them. A second later, I almost tore It into pieces. And it was not the damage of the virtual body from pseudo-matter, but the damage to the symbiote itself.

Leviathan screamed in agony, and then suddenly regenerated. I noticed that along one of its tentacles, a stream of some energy flowed into it. The Endbringer tried to throw me into the air with a stream of water, but it only splashed helplessly on my telekinesis protection. I repeated the full of will piercing tentacle attack with the same result. With a small difference being the regeneration was now a little slower. But I stopped attacking wildly and try to think up a decisive attack. So here I need not strength, but accuracy. It is necessary to find the energy center of this creature, and then destroy it. The problem was somewhat complicated by the fact that it was necessary to search for this center in a multidimensional space. The creature was clearly not going to make my life easier, showing its vulnerable points in the three-dimensional layer of reality.

The Leviathan was about to move toward the center of the city, pulling water from the bay towards me, but I thwarted his plans. For a start, I cut off most of the tentacles coming out of it, temporarily violating its water control. The extremities quickly regenerated, but in a couple of seconds I managed to shred the Leviathan into pieces. He continued to regenerate, simultaneously accumulating energy in his body.

Then I felt three human like figures appeared not far from me. Approaching them, I saw the Protectorate’s Triumvirate. Alexandria, Eidolon and Legend hung in the air, watching the Leviathan.

“What, came to see how your little animal destroys the city?” I could not resist the question.

“We came to help in fight with the Leviathan .” The Legend answered in a slightly nervous voice. Apparently, not yet recovered from yesterday's defeat.

“Oh really?” I threw the Leviathan to the side, once again grinding it to pieces. “But I see that the Leviathan is your creation. Look.”

With these words, I pierced Eidolon with a dozen tentacles, aiming at energy centers. He could no longer be called a man, because he had merged too much with the symbiote. Or the symbiote almost consumed him. In my perception, I clearly saw that the symbiote in the body of Eidolon was connected to Leviathan with the coal-black pulsing tentacles. He was the source of the regeneration of this creature. I tore Eidolon apart, but he instantly gathered back and regenerated.

“Stop!” Legend shouted, rushing towards me, but bumping into an insurmountable invisible obstacle.

I struck another blow, this time with one tentacle, aiming at the center of the head. As a human, Eidolon had vulnerabilities that were easier for me to find. I did not try to break his body, but created on the tip of tentacle an area of matter destruction. For a split second, a delicate balance was established between the resistance of Eidolon and me, and then Eidolon's strength increased abruptly, discarding my tentacle. Two more Endbringers appeared next to us: Behemoth and Simurg.

“Well, what did I say? Poke the owner, and his puppets appeared.”

The legend stared in disbelief to the three Endbringers. I focused on the twisted angry face of Eidolon, who had lost his mask. The cameras, hidden in the shreds of darkness, regularly filmed everything that was happening, so it was worthwhile to unleash him for revelations.

“Why did you kill so many heroes, Eidolon? Was it in order to pick up their abilities? After all the killing, you can get their power? So these are all the powers of those you killed?”

Behavior of Leviathan let me to this idea. No wonder it rushed to kill weak heroes. So Its goal was their symbiotes, which It swallowed in a few seconds.

The head of the Triumvirate did not answer me, but only struck in response with rays of light. Alexandria tried to go behind and stab me in the back. I instantly shifted to the side and grabbed them both, holding them in place and surrounding them with waves of flame using Pyrokinesis. Alas, it only slightly covered them. Alexandria did not got a scratch. Her power was still too incomprehensible to me, so it was impossible to break through her force fields.

Legend flew off to the side, radiating waves of anger and frustration. And the Endbringers on the contrary approached me, striving to make potshots at me. Something is starting to strain me. They are very wrong if they think that I will play by their rules.

Unlike the local masks, I knew exactly what symbiotes are and how they work. I had enough time to read all this information from the consciousness of my symbiote. From the point of view of the unsophisticated person, the symbiotes were invulnerable. Their body was completely amorphous and had no internal organs. They could change their shape and easily rebuilt the energy flows inside the body.

All of my previous attempts to injure them, including cases with ordinary masks, were just a means to say "sit down and not rock the boat," rather than an attempt to cause real harm. But now I was going to hit to kill. I do not know what players want to achieve in this instance, but I decided to dispose Eidolon and his mad stray dogs here and now.

When I studied the process of feeding the limbs of the symbiote with my will, I noticed that this process was not as effective as it could be. The fact is that on the mental plane the density of these creatures was too low. Sword is possible to be strengthened if it’s made from metal, but if it is made of cotton, then there will be little sense from it. Therefore, I studied in more detail the substance of which the symbiotes were composed and found out that it can be transformed by increasing the density.

Only this process had a certain pitfall. The personality and abilities of the symbiote were evenly distributed throughout the entire volume of its body, thus, in the process of transformation, all information was erased from the altered matter, which made the embryo a “clean sheet” without abilities and acquired skills. In principle, it would be possible to copy the personality of the symbiote to a new carrier approximately in the middle of the process, when there was still a sufficient amount of the “original” body. But then another circumstance surfaced. The transformation process could not be stopped. So I would have only one chance, and even if it’s successful, my symbiote would be weaker by half. Then, of course, it will be possible to “level up”, but in general, I considered such an operation as risky.

But now I have a unique opportunity to upgrade my symbiote at someone else's expense. The fact was that, although the symbiotes lived on their own, they all remained part of one Entity and could merge back at any moment. The older and more developed the personality of the symbiote, the less it wanted a merge, but the very possibility of strengthening would not suffer from it.

Eidolon’s symbiote was huge. Almost as huge as mine. But the control of the hero over his symbiont was almost zero. That is why these parts are separated from the main body associated with the mask. But they did not fully separate, because they had an imperative order to serve Eidolon.

Now, I was going to start the forced merging of two symbiotes, directing all the absorbed matter into the transformation zone. This way I can completely copy the consciousness of my symbiote to a new carrier, I will have enough time to make sure of the success of this process, and at the end my symbiote will be twice as dense. Solid profit!

The legend flew farther and farther from the battlefield. I think that he would not interfere, and therefore focused on the two remaining members of the Triumvirate. With Alexandria, we have a variety of opportunities. I could not hurt her, but she could not get close to me. With Eidolon, everything was even easier. I pierced him with tentacle, initiated the transformation process at the core of my symbiote, and then inside the tentacles I stretched a thread of altered matter that penetrated into the body of Eidolon and began to “suck” his symbiote from there. The turbulence accompanying the transformation process deprived Eidolon of the remnants of control, and according to the law of communicating vessels, the matter of the symbiote began to be pumped out of the Endbringers.

Those Endbringers, of course, were not overjoyed by such a development of events, and the three of them began to press on me. Holding out one of the tentacles, I grabbed the sword of the Dragon Slayer, which is ten kilometers away, and pulled to me. The sharp blade flew over fast, making a sonic boom, then immediately cut off Simurg's head, and then turned and pierced right through Behemoth. I began to shred the Endbringers into pieces, not allowing them time to regenerate. The sword was a kind of substitute for the loose flesh of the symbiote, and therefore I could strengthen it with my will to such an extent that the bodies of the Endbringers could not offer any resistance.

Seeing that I was holding back the Endbringers, and that Eidolon was hanging in a semi-conscious state, Alexandria redoubled her efforts. She did not threaten me so much as distracting me from monitoring the transformation process of my symbiote. So I decided to apply a new focus. Although I had almost no time to research the abilities of the captured heroes, I could still understand something. And now I, like Eidolon, have created a new ability for myself. In some ways, it resembled the ability of a pusher. This was the area of space where objects acquired acceleration.

I slowed down Alexandria for a moment with telekinesis, and then formed an accelerating field around her. The effect was like a heroine fired from a cannon. No, not even a cannon, but accelerated to near-light speeds. She broke the atmosphere, leaving a corridor out of a vacuum, and swept over the horizon. The blast wave was of such strength that nearby houses crumbled into pieces. Well at least the battle took place in one of the most abandoned parts of the docks. Interestingly, she went into orbit with such speed? Or did she immediately go to deep space?

Further work was already essentially a routine. I controlled the transformation process of the symbiote, lazily waving away the attacks from the Endbringers for one thing. Legend after a few seconds flew away after Alexandria. So no one bothered me. Cameras continued to shoot epic battles, and Eidolon was still hanging in the air, twitching like he’s in a fit of epilepsy.

Ten minutes later, the Endbringers were completely absorbed into the body of their master. A minute later I completely destroyed  Eidolon’s symbiote, and his body who no longer able to exist on its own, instantly rotted, falling to the ground as streams of muddy mucus.

Five minutes later, I completed the transformation of my symbiote. For a moment, all my abilities were turned off, and then returned, but in a completely different capacity. If earlier I felt that I was talking to the symbiote, what to do, and then it would do my order, now I felt his tentacles as my own. At the same time, the personality of the symbiote did not disappear anywhere, and it could easily carry out simple tasks, automating my abilities.

Toothy smile spread over my face. This was another manifestation of my closer contact with the symbiote. I wanted to smile, and it understood what I need and formed the already known sequence of visual illusions on my face.

I inspected the finally destroyed docks and breathed heavily. From where I will find new masks? They will never come here again. After I single-handedly thrashed the Three Endbringers, only the Scion could somehow compete with me in this level of strength.

A dot appeared on the horizon, and soon Legend levitated in front of me again.

“How is Alexandria?” I asked.

“I did not find her.”

“Have tried looking in space? You need a larger telescope.”

“Where is Eidolon?” The hero did not support my jokes it seems.

“Over there, somewhere below, lies muddy mucus which all remains of him.” I indicated the remains of a green suit with a tentacle of darkness. “After I killed the Endbringers, Eidolon decided to die from not being able to bear such frustration.”

“I'll post my battle so you can see everything online on internet. And now, do not bring it to sin - go out of here. Otherwise, I will dismember you for consumables for my inhuman experiments.”

Legend hung around a couple of seconds, and then flew away over the horizon. Once again I looked around the neighborhood, and then headed to the city center. It was necessary to cancel the alarm, return the inhabitants to their homes and begin to restore a peaceful life. Since this is my city, it is worth making it the most prosperous city in the world.

Having a dealt with the organizational issues of returning the city to a normal life, I went to the ZBS television studio, where I posted copies of all the videos I had about the destruction of the Endgringers. They promised that a short video will be on the television today, and a documentary film will be ready by tomorrow.

Then I moved to fulfill my promise to build houses. With the use of tele-and pyrokinesis, this was not a problem. For a start, I found a place in the docks near the border with the central region, where the underground communications were almost not destroyed. There I demolished the remains of slums and began the construction of multistoried anthills by using my past experience as the supreme leader of sapient spiders.

I did not have any concrete, but there was enough debris from a third of the city, which I crushed, melted with pyrokinesis, brought to a certain chemical composition, and then gave this mass the desired shape and cooled. In some ways, this process was similar to monolithic construction. But I did not use concrete, which has a lifespan of fifty years, but a mineral rock, which will not fall apart even after a thousand years. Even after ten thousand years descendants will still be able to inhabit it.

Inside the buildings, I conducted plumbing and laid cables for electricity. Of course, there was also the need for interior decoration, but everyone will be engaged in this by himself. Even in the draft version, my accommodation had quite a decent look. It remained only to install plumbing, put an electric stove and you can live it here.

Having set aside a property for fifty thousand tenants, I began to conduct underground utilities, lay roads, build kindergartens, schools, hospitals, shops, and other related infrastructure. By the evening I finished with the construction and went to the governor of the city. He accepted me as his own son and assured me that tomorrow, the construction of the buildings closest to the center, where it is planned to lodge the homeless citizens, will begin to be brought to mind.

Watching the rushing bureaucrats on business, I even felt nostalgia. My spider city looked about the same way when I started ‘building of the next century’. Having considered my duties for today, I went home to sleep.

The next morning, I began by visiting Coil. During the night, he tried at least a hundred options for escape, each of which ended with his death. And I just gave a command to the symbiote to track a given target and destroy him if he crosses the city border.

I again brought the villain to loss of consciousness, but then resuscitated him and began to explore his abilities further. Finally, unable to withstand the abuse of fate, Coil made a mistake, and fell up two on dice.

“Oh! Akella, missed.”

“What?” groaned the tortured Coil.

“This is a two.”

“What?! No!”

“Alas, my friend, but now you have to lose your hand.”

I stretched the telekinetic claw and slowly tore his hand off. Having enjoyed the horror and suffering of the scum, I sewed his hand back and healed.

“If you make another mistake, you will lose your limb forever.” I scolded him. “Ok, enough for today. Rest. And do not try to escape. The more you use your ability, the higher the likelihood that tomorrow you will lose couple of limbs.”

Getting to the surface, I visited the town hall, and then went to clean the bay. Now Brockton Bay could not be a port city because of the blocked tanker channel. Plus, in the area of the docks, where there actually used to be a port, hundreds of ships were rotting and rusting. I melted part of them into the tower, but it was like a drop in the ocean of junk.

I decided to go around the coast to clean the shore and the bottom of the bay from all metal objects. Symbiote did an excellent job with its responsibilities for automating telekinesis. I just had to help him make decisions in difficult cases, and he did the rest on his own. Half an hour later I “unloaded” an iron cube with a side of almost thirty meters at the docks. It is very robust, especially considering that ships are a kind of metal inflatable balls. In addition to the tanker at the bottom, a pair of supertankers was found at the docks. Yes, and any rusted trash on the shore, too, went to the smelting.

Having made small measurements, I found out that the cube weighs two hundred and fifty thousand tons. Steel cost three hundred bucks per ton, which means this cube gives only seventy-five million dollars. It’s small when compared with the original cost of the ships that are far beyond a billion. But even so, it was still a nice sum, which I left in one piece. Then I'll figure out what to do with it. And in order that this large object would not stand idle, I made a huge statue of myself from metal, imaging me tearing apart three Endbringers with my bare hands. He-he-he.

Satisfying my thirst for glory, I went to check the status of the docks, or to be more precise, the entire northern part of the city. Despite the three cataclysms that have fallen on this territory over the past few days, there are still enough buildings and even unspoilt neighborhoods. Now I carried out an inspection and completely demolished all the buildings that it did not make sense to restore or use further.

Under one of these buildings for demolition, I found a nice basement, where there were two masks. Quickly darting to the docks and unloading the collected building materials, I returned to this place and headed for the entrance to the basement. It seems I found what I needed. With all this mess with the Protectorate and the Endbringers, I lost access to the body of Kid Win, so the study of technology has stalled. But here was the lair of two famous villains, one of whom was a good techie.

“I am horror, flying on the wings of night! I am a bugged final boss in your favorite game. I am a burned light bulb in your electrical circuit. I am the Black Cloak!” I announced my appearance, after which I appeared in the expanding yarns of darkness in the center of a large workshop.

“Aaaa !!!” Uber rushed away, hiding in one of the aisles.

“Which game are you from?” Elite greeted me, skeptically examining my costume.

“Eh, you, darkness. Star Wars, the first episode - "Hidden threat".”

“Aaaa! Exactly, exactly. There was such a dude there. High five!”  We hit each other on the palms. “What are you doing here?”

“Elite, I will save you.” Uber ran into the hall carrying on his hands some kind of deadly caliber cannon.

At the entrance to the hall, he faltered on the threshold, and then began to fall. In order not to crash into the floor, he had to drop the weapon, which even without any help from telekinesis fell right into my hands. And all that I was needed was to tweak the probabilities of future events a little.

“And what is this thing?” I asked, turning the techie.

“BFG-9000!” Cheerfully reported Elite. “Only it does not work. Burned power supply after the first test shot.”

“What? Why didn't you tell me?” Uber was outraged, still lying on the floor.

“Well, we had decided that the destructive power of this thing is too big to use it within the city.”

Uber got up and began to pretend to be a bystander, inspecting the ceiling.

“Elite, I have a business for you.” I turned to the techie, putting the cannon on the next table. “I need a sword of light. A Star Wars boss without his lightsaber is not worthy of his throne.”

“Eh …”  He sighed heavily. “I've already created one Star Wars sword. And it even worked for five minutes before exploding. So the second one will explode as soon as I try to turn it on. Tested in practice.”

“I can correct this error, I will teach you how to correctly use the force.”

“Really?” Elite looked at me through the eyes of Shrek's cat.

“Of course! Before you is the main expert on the use of parascopic abilities on the whole Earth.” I grabbed my hips and widen out my chest proudly. Oddly enough, this position convinced Elite that I was right. Well, as expected of a geek?

For the next three days, I and Elite fell out of reality. With my abilities, it was very easy to neutralize the lack of sleep, so we spent seventy-two hours in the workshop, where I learned the basics of working with techies, and Elite learned how to train his symbiote. We parted with satisfaction from one other, plus Elite gave me three lightsabers, two of which could be combined into a light spear, the same as Darth Maul.

Getting out under the light of the sun, I went straight to Coil. His ability, already almost completely mastered by me, greatly helped us avoid a couple of ... hundreds of explosions, while I taught Elite to be a normal techie. I should have finally cleaned the city from the villains and the remnants of criminal elements.

The villain greeted me fully armed. He was standing at the table, and in front of him on the table was a kawaii kitten with a dynamite strap attached to him with a radio fuse. The detonator was in the hand.

“If you don't let me go, then I will blow up this kitten.” The fiend made an ultimatum as soon as I entered the room.

“Meow?” The kitten asked and began to sniff the explosives.

Looks like Coil found my weak point. It’s not that I couldn’t save the kitten if I wanted to, but I decided to reward Coil for being creative.

“This is dishonest! You cannot take hostage cute kawaii kittens!” I panicked. “If something bad happens to him, eternity of suffering will await you.”

“Nothing will happen to him if you give me the opportunity to leave the city.”

“But what about the blockade?”

“Blockade opened yesterday morning.”

I waited and ponder about it while scratching my suit covered chin a while for the sake of it, but then the kitten said “Miu?”, posing as a tortured hostage.

“Good. If you give me the hostage, then I will give you an hour to leave the area of my telekinesis. And if you do not go far enough, I will tear you to shreds.”

“Promise not to disturb me?”

“I Promise.”

“Good.”

Coil give me the kawaii charm, and then ran to the exit from the base. Run Forest, run. Scratching the cat behind the ear, I went to look for a new home for him. I cannot settle an animal in my apartment. I go there rarely. Meanwhile, the villain got to the roof of a nearby building, where a helicopter was already waiting for him. Without losing a minute, he jumped into it, and the helicopter flew south, gaining altitude.

An hour later, when I had already played enough with the kitten, fed him and falling asleep in my arms, I remembered Coil. He was by then more than a thousand kilometers away from me. In Boston, he moved from a helicopter to a supersonic aircraft and now heading towards Mexico. He’s still in area of my force, so it was worth punishing the villain. I waited another fifteen minutes to instill hope in his heart, after which with telekinesis said under his ear:

“Coil, I don't want to disappoint you, but you haven't flown far enough. My power is working all over the Earth. To hide from me, you had to at least get to the moon. So ... goodbye.”

With these words, I tore the villain into small pieces, smearing the pilot with blood and the entire cockpit. As I expected, Coil could not foresee his death. His symbiote only influenced events in a certain radius, therefore in his “visions” there were no consequences of my actions.

Well, I dealt with this question. Now I need to learn the abilities of Dina Alcott. And I even know what kind of pretext I use to contact her. The pretext yawned, scratched his ear and fell asleep again. Dina was just at work with her father, so I headed to the governor's office.

“Hello, Herbert. Hi, Dina.” I said hello, entering the governor’s office.

“Good afternoon, Black Cloak. You are gone for three days. We were worried.”

“Business.” I shrugged. “Dina, I brought to you a saved hostage. He needs a new home and good friends.”

“Oh! That's for me? How lovely? Dad, can I keep him to myself?”

“Uh-uh ... of course.” The governor agreed, looking at me.

“And from whom did you save him?” Dina grabbed the kitty and began to squeeze it.

“From Coil. This was his last crime.” The happy smile of the girl for a moment was replaced by an anxious face. “He won't be able to kidnap anymore. By the way, Dina, what is the probability that the kitten will run away from you or get lost within a month?

“Three point, eighty-one hundredth percent. Do not worry, I will care of him.”

“Mister Black Cloak, since we are talking about the villains, it seems that we have a problem.” The governor intervened in our conversation.

“What's the problem?”

“Nine people’s corpses were found in the city. Each of them was killed in a unique way. I'm afraid it might be Slaughterhouse Number Nine. I contacted Tattletale and she confirmed my concerns.”

“Slaughterhouse Number Nine? Were they living under rocks to not know of what happened just fucking three days ago?”  I was surprised. “Now I will deal with this issue.”

Saying goodbye, I went outside, flew up to the roof of one of the skyscrapers and tuned in to search for symbiotes within the city. In addition to the already well-known and “licensed” capes from the teams of the Undersiders, Faultline and Trickster, as well as the remnants of the Empire, I found several Rogues. In addition, on the base of the Coil in the deepest dungeon there was an incomprehensible mask, merged with his symbiote. Most of all it was like the manifestation of the power of the werewolf. And most importantly, in the southern part of the city in one of the houses there were members of the Slaughterhouse.

Eleven creatures of varying degrees of humanoids are located in a large basement. Right now they were discussing something with each other. It seems necessary to join their dispute and clarify some points. While I was getting to the place, one of the masks climbed out of the basement, flew into the air, and began to scatter the tentacles of her symbiote throughout the city.

“What did you think of it? Come to me!”

I grabbed the villain that the whole world knew under the name of Shatter Bird, broke her spine, cut off the symbiote tentacles and suppressed power control. In general, the procedure has already been worked out and there were no surprises. When I reached the house I needed, I grabbed a paralyzed victim and went down to the basement.

My appearance was a surprise to all those present.

“Black Cloak?” Jack Slash exclaimed. “How can you be so fast?! I expected you only in the evening!”

“Are you completely stupid?” I asked in response. “You have come to my city like this, despite the all known fact that I single-handedly killed three Endbringers?”

“Are you talking about this funny movie on the Internet, where you fight with the Endbringers?” Jack laughed. “Alas, your trick was revealed. On the same day, the Protectorate declared that it was computer graphics. They even demonstrated a live Eidolon. So your bluff failed.”

“Protectorate? Why they do not calm down? I will fix their brains in near future, and it is better to knock them out completely.” I angrily promised to myself. “I can congratulate you, you're really stupid.” I turned to Jack. “It was not computer graphics. And you bought the lie, conducted by the Protectorate.”

A smile fell off Jack's face. He was twitching to do something, but he discovered that my telekinesis was holding him tightly, not allowing him to move more than a couple of centimeters.

“And now there will be an indicative execution.” I told the crowd. “Please wait a minute before I bring a camera. I need another video with computer graphics, indistinguishable from reality.”

The smile of a bloodthirsty demon spread across my face. Siberian rushed to me, ignoring telekinesis, but I was not so surprised. I can see remote projections. I nourished one of the tentacles with my will, and then pierced the body of Siberia. She immediately burst like a balloon. This time, the faces of those present showed real panic. Siberia again appeared in the room and once again blowed up.

“Don't worry, it didn't hurt her at all.” I commented on this event. “But to him, this is obviously bad”.

A man flew into the basement, with blood from his mouth and ears. It was the mask that created the projection of Siberia. He once again tensed and created her image, which I pierced again. It was not just destruction. The symbiote, which wounded its master in retaliation, suffered from such treatment. The man began to vomit blood and made no more attempts at resistance.

In the meantime, I brought several video cameras from my apartment, hung them around the room and turned them on to record.

“Their batteries are low because I forgot to charge them.” I tell them. “So I’ll be as brief as possible. Well, as gentlemens say, ladies first. Let's start with you.”

I pointed to the Bonesaw trying to resist. She was an innocent blonde girl of about fourteen, who tried to say something, but only muffled softly.

“You are already an adult girl and you should know that if you behave badly, big uncles will come and do something bad to you. Well, you probably watched all these films for adults, where uncles put their stuff in girls. But since you're a minor, I’m using this instead.”

Before the nose of Bonesaw hung one of her spiders. It differed a good set of jagged saws, blades and other tools. I folded it, and then I shoved the spider into the very place, where all the blades opened and began to cut the flesh. The girl resisted, but could not do anything.

“You like to cut people into pieces? So you should like this.”

Five minutes later, only the head and body from Bonesaw remained. Despite this, she was still alive. But I did not drag out the agony and finally defragmented it, dropping the bloody mess down the toilet.

“Next is, you darling. You joined Nine against your will, so your death will be quick.”

In a second, the second girl followed the first.

“Burnscar. You sought refuge in your strength. On fire. Therefore, it is worth helping you to reunite with this element.”

Without the protection of her symbiote, this mask burned in my fire in less than a minute. I poured the ashes to the toilet and turned to ShatterBird.

“You like to break glasses. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you become like glass? Let's check shall we?”

I froze the maniac up to the temperature of absolute zero and smashed her against the wall. After that, I crushed pieces of her body into dust and again washed it down in the toilet.

“Good toilet here - does not clog.”

After examining the rest, I chose the creator of Siberian.

“We will assume that you are a girl too. In a sense. You liked to eat people alive. So let someone eat you too. Here, for example, Crawler.”

I waved my hand, and one human-shaped monster flew into the mouth of another human-shaped monster. There, with telekinesis, I forced Crawler to chew on his lunch, then swallow and digest. Even bones and dental crowns have dissolved in his gastric juice.

I noticed three ugly figures frozen near the wall. These were masks, turned by Bonesaw into a sort of puppets. After this did not shine normal life for them, so I just scattered them into bloody dust and sent after the creator.

“Well, there are three of you left.”

Jack looked at me with bulging eyes, Crawler roared quietly, trying to overpower the telekinesis, and Mannequin stood silently in place, not even moving a millimeter. I chose him as next.

“You have achieved considerable success in transforming your body. Once, you dreamed of spaceflight. But I think you have certain problems with miniaturization. Come on, I'll show you how to do it properly.”

The Mannequin body is folded into a metal ball, which is its standard "compact" form. After that, I squeezed it, crushing metal parts, and squeezing out the organic parts. The pressure grew and grew. Matter shrank, warmed up to enormous temperatures and still shrank. A couple of minutes later, Mannequin remained a sphere the size of a large apple. Nuclear fusion hasn’t begun yet, but it was already close. I took this sphere out of the basement and sent it vertically upwards. At an altitude of a couple of thousand kilometers, I partially loosened control over it, and the stream of hot plasma flew towards the open space. It could even be used as a weapon. Not a single molecule is left from the Mannequin. His whole body went to meet the stars.

“Crawler, all you wanted was to experience pain. Now I will give you an ocean of pain.”

I picked up the huge carcass weighing several tons, and then began to slowly pinch off microscopic pieces of it, which I immediately chased through the pyrokinesis zone, where they burned to the ground. Crawler roared for the first couple of minutes in ecstasy, and then he got worried. His tail, legs, most of his body disappeared. He tried to regenerate, but I blocked his regeneration ability that can create virtual matter. And without such cheating ability, any regeneration stops on the absence of building material.

By the time when only one head remained from Crawler, he was already crying and pleading, but I didn’t stop until the last drop of his body was gone.

“Jack, you’re the last one remaining.” I turned to the permanent member of Slaughterhouse Nine. “You are to blame for the deaths of so many people that just death will not be enough for you. For starters, let's take away your limbs. You will no longer the right for them anyway, and so you can focus on the main thing. We do not need pipe dreams about your salvation, don’t we?”

I amputated Jack's arms and legs and healed the stumps. Now he was just a torso with a head and a cock. We need to come up with something original. Such that all those who will watch this video begin the act of involuntary defecation at the mere thought that I can do the same to them.

But before I could concentrate on the problem, I felt that my soul was literally ripped out of my body.

“Fuuh~ I thought I would be too late to stop you, but I managed!” Told me a satisfied Being. “You haven't spoiled the whole game for us. The existence of Jack is an absolutely necessary element of the main scenario. He cannot be killed.”

“Could you not say that earlier? And why you pulled me out of my body?

I looked at my frozen figure and Jack with wild eyes.

“You won. I mean, I won. You raised such a cool symbiote. This is also a ready-made tool for use in one of the following games. It is not necessary to tell other players that exactly you created this tool. I will hand it to some sucker with a minimum of brains, and I can take bets in the ratio of ten to one.”

While the Being was busy with its rainbow plans, the symbiote plunged into the depths of panic and horror. Looks like this symbiote is also not pleased by this prospect. So, why is it trying to shove dirty tentacles to my soul? What? Do you want to leave your embryo in me, hiding it in a multidimensional fold of space tied to my soul, and give to this symbiote an order to serve me for at least a thousand years? Well then fine. Put aside your son.

Symbiote gave me his son and instantly calmed down. And I felt a note of satisfaction slipping from the symbiote’s side. Apparently, this breeding process allowed the symbiote to accept fate. And the submission of the instrument to the will of the owner is one of the most important characteristics. Again the Being thing used me. Well, at least a piece of symbiote remained with me. I spend very much time while growing it.

“In general, everything turned out pretty well, unless you take into account the fact that you irrevocably destroyed all members of the Slaughterhouse. You will have to become one of the followers of Jack Slash. The possibilities of your symbiote will be enough to replace all the dead. And since you will not be able to play this role, I have to put a bot in your place.”

My body, which I still could see from the side, moved and uttered:

“Do you want to tell me something?”

The power that prevented Jack from speaking disappeared, and he began to sing like a nightingale. In fact, all this chatter was one of the manifestations of the strength of his symbiote. And now he began to brainwash the “bot,” especially since Being turned off my passive protection from external influence. I did not have time to notice when I lost my symbiote. Now I clearly felt that symbiote was attached to a surrogate person in my body.

It was disgusting to look at the subsequent events. Black Cloak believed all the noodles that Jack had placed on his ears, then he healed his arms and legs back and agreed to join the Slaughterhouse. And as a finishing touch agreed with the idea of changing the name and image. So my alter ego became Black Executioner, as they wanted in the Protectorate.

The world went out, and again I was in darkness and emptiness. Only the presence of the Being prevented me from sliding into a complete loss of external sensations.

“In general, I thought about your future fate and came to a disappointing conclusion. Nobody wants to bet against you. Even in this game that only a couple of players agreed to bet your result would not be the best. In general, everything is bad. Therefore, it is worth a little cheating. He-he-he-he.”

The Being laughed maliciously.

“I will not tell you the whole plan yet. So you can better focus on the current task. You are already familiar with the technology of portals and interworld movements. But those portals that you used in the world of demons are too primitive. They act only within one group of worlds. And you will need to learn technology that allows you to move between different Planes, Groups of worlds, Universes, and even Game Servers. Now I will send you to the world where such technology exists. This is the cosmic world, so there are no special restrictions. But remember, I do not need you to conquer the entire galaxy, subvert the current government or destroy all kinds of intelligent beings. This must be a secret operation. I repeat - SECRET! Quietly come, studied and left. The plot is quite well known to you there, so it's not worth breaking it either. No killings of the main characters or anything. Clear? And if you can’t handle it, then you will burn in the Hell forever. I have one booked place there. Instruction is over, take up the job. And as you learn all that is required, I will find you again.”



Chapter Text

Chapter 6.01 - Stargate

I woke up with strange feeling. I was curled up in a confined leather bag, surrounded by slime. The bag was obviously alive because I heard a heartbeat and breathing. I myself was either a worm or a snake. That was another discovery. I did not panic, but focused on gathering information about my new body. Surprisingly, I easily discovered what I was .

Well, you can congratulate me. I was a Goa’uld, an intelligent worm that captures people's bodies. And I was in the Stargate universe on the planet Chulak. My father was Apophis. It was the genetic memory inherited from him that I was now reading. This memory only had Information relating to the greatness of the race of the Goa’uld and the basic control principles of  a technology inherited from the Ancients.

I was in the stomach of one of the Jaffa - the elite warriors of Apophis. Judging by the shreds of my memory, my prepared fate was to be dinner. As far as I remembered from this show, the Goa’ulds raised their descendants, and then ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner in order to gain certain substances they needed for eternal life. So I had to quickly consider the question of choosing a host, because my body was almost ready to leave the Jaffa’s abdominal pouch .

So I started an examination of my abilities. Magic and chakra were present, and even seemed to work. But, I had zero control over them, so they were basically useless. Symbiote was pretty emaciated, but with enough workable strength . My telekinesis would no longer lift megatons of cargo, but for an ordinary person, even armed with a gun, my abilities would be enough. Moreover, the symbiote retained all its skills and abilities, so now I had a good chance to take control of the Jaffa's consciousness and make him find me a host.

I spread the symbiote’s tentacles and searched my surroundings with them. My carrier slept on a bed in some shabby hut. People were near, but not in my room. The conditions were perfect suitable to conduct a few experiments on the submission of another's consciousness. As it turned out, it was pretty easy to take control of someone else's consciousness. This seemed to be a completely natural function of my body, and the symbiote was only a signal translator to the brain.

I got out of bed, looked around and began to dress. The ceremonial dress was well appropriate with my clothing taste. At the same time, I looked through the Jaffa’s consciousness in search of information about potential hosts. Jaffa was human in past But goa’ulds changed something in their biochemistry, so that the worm could grow in their bodies inside a special bag inside the abdomen, into which they entered through the navel. When Goa’ulds grow up enough, they must leave the Jaffa’s pouch  and find a normal human as a host.

Information about a suitable body was found pretty quickly. Apophis was looking for a host for his future queen, so one of the halls of the palace was filled with a crowd of suitable people. Once again, I checked the appearance of my Jaffa, picked up a plasma-shooting spear and went straight to the palace. There I walked through the corridors and went out to the hall I needed, which contained a crowd of humans, and came face-to-face  with Teal’c, the First Prime of Apophis.

“Apophis ordered me to bring him one of the vessels.” I retold the “order” of the leader of Goa’ulds.

“Why didn't he order me personally?” Teal’c was surprised.

“You can ask him about it when the order is executed.”

My argument did not invite further discussion, so Teal’c stepped aside and gave a sign to open the grille blocking the entrance to the hall. I went into the room, looking at it with Jaffa's eyes and and scanning crowd with symbiote’s tentacles. Pretty soon, I discovered three “main characters”. There was a female Air Force Captain from Earth, the wife of Daniel Jackson from Abydos-- I did not remember her name -- and Skaara, a boy from the same planet. The first was the only blonde in camouflage, the second I found out by the her black hair and pretty face, and the third was standing next to the second, protecting her with his frail body.

I was not going to interfere in the plot of this story, and therefore focused on the others. There were both men and women. Dressed in different clothes, differing in appearance and behavior, they created the feeling of a circus.

The choice of host was not an easy task. It was a matter of genetics. The Goa’uld could subjugate any person, but the body of the host could suit it , or could reject it, forcing it to waste its efforts on restructuring the host. In addition, I was not fully grown, so the quality of the first host was even more important.

Using my instincts and the indications of the symbiote, I found the only option that suited  me. Alas, it was a woman. For me, a “sex change” was a bit of a psychological inconvenience, but I could change the host in the future, returning to the issue with more detail.

“You, come here!” I grabbed the hand of a girl of twenty, of a rather ugly appearance. She naturally began to resist and yell something. “On your knees!”

I hit my victim's legs with telekinesis, and she fell to her knees, the pouch directly  in front of her face. Of course, the Jaffa’s armor was still between the girl and me, but it did not become an obstacle. Telekinesis easily broke through chain mail and a steel plate. I slipped out of the Jaffa’s stomach and rushed toward the victim's face, piercing the flesh of her neck. The Jaffa covered me with his corpse, the other servants of Apophis discovering what happened only when their comrade fell unconscious, and a characteristic wound became visible on the neck of my host. They started to run and try to catch me.

“Hands off your God!” I announced with a roaring voice and flashing eyes.

The other Jaffa stared at me in shock, giving me the opportunity to stand. All these cheap tricks of voice and eyes were sewn into the fabric of my genetic memory at the deepest level. This was how the Goa’uld let their subjects know who they should worship. The gods fought with the gods, and people did not dare to intervene, figuring out the relationship between themselves.

“I must take you to Apophis,” Teal’c told me. By the expression of his face it was clear that he preferred to see all gods in the tomb - me especially.

“Lead,” I graciously agreed. “Jaffa, Cree!”

I did not know what this "Cree" meant, but the Goa’uld asserted dominance in their speech through the word. Perhaps it was just a curse. Like "fucking Jaffa."

Before the eyes of the all-powerful Apophis, I appeared in half an hour. His divine mercy deigned to rest, so I had to wait for him to dress and appear to me in all his glory. Apophis entered the hall and stared at me with a searching glance. We exchanged with sparkling eyes, after which he spoke:

“Leave us.” Jaffa and other servants immediately swept out of the room and closed the door behind them. “How dare you take a host without my order?” He turned to me.

“I'm a Goa’uld. My mission is to rule mortals. Even you can't forbid me that. I am Imhotep, the god of knowledge and architecture.”.Since we were using Egyptian mythology here, I decided to take the name of a man who lived in Egypt, and was later exalted to the level of God. “I recognize your authority, Apophis, but only as long as it meets my goals.”

“Is that so? And what do you want?” Interest flashed in Apophis’s eyes.

“I need a ha’tak and a squad of Jaffa. After that, I will go on a conquest of other worlds and will rule them on your behalf. Your power over the galaxy will increase, and after a while, I will be ready to provide troops for your army.”

“If I do not agree?”

“Then I will have to overthrow you and take your place.” I flashed my eyes and stared at my ancestor in  challenge.

From the outside, it probably looked like empty bravado. Apophis was all decorated with trinkets, of which many were combat and defensive artifacts, whereas I was almost naked, as ‘to frighten a hedgehog with bare ass’. But in reality, I was ready to destroy the snake in the head of Apophis’s host with telekinesis. Whatever the technique of the Ancients, it did not protect against telekinesis of symbiote.

Apophis liked my behavior. I was, in his eyes, a typical Goa’uld - evil, overbearing scum who wanted fame and only recognized power. The tentacles of the symbiote could not penetrate the thoughts of the snake, but they conveyed to me the emotions of the wearer, whose consciousness was subordinated to the Goa’uld.

“Good. I just have one ha'tak that needs a captain. It is an old ship. I have already built a new ha’tak to replace it three times, but it is still flying. I will give this ship to you, but first you must prove that you are worthy of this honor.”

“What do I need to do?”

“I learned that in one of the worlds, the ship of Asgard was destroyed . It is a small shuttle, but it keeps the secrets of the technology of this race. Bring me a navigation computer from this ship, and I will give you a ha'tak and a hundred Jaffa in addition.”

“I smell some kind of deception.” I expressed my doubts. “If everything was so simple, you would have taken this computer by yourself.”

“Yes, this place is notorious. There is a device of the Ancients that grants wishes. But in most cases, it does not fulfill desires, but kills those who come close to it. This is what happened with the Asgard. But I'm sure you can do it. After all, you are the god of knowledge.”  There was a sneer in his voice. From the point of view of the Goa’uld, being a god of knowledge was only a little more honorable than being a god of toilets.

“Of course I can handle it. I will need a squad of two dozen Jaffa.”

“Well, my son, Suref will tell you all the details.” Apophis flashed his eyes and left the room.

The Suref he mentioned was one of the trusted Jaffa in charge of all sorts of technical questions. My previous host knew him, so at least I could recognize him by sight when I was surrounded by Jaffa and other servants.

The subsequent events of the evening happened quickly. I was dressed in colorful clothes, given the  local analogue of a pistol, provided an address for opening the stargate, and supplied with a dozen Jaffa who were deemed traitors on  previous missions. In general, everything corresponded to the proverb ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’. Similar circumstances indicated that I was already written off as  fodder, but I had a different opinion on this matter.

I could escape from Chulak in the body of a Jaffa and find a host on one of the planets, but then I would turn out to be just a runaway worm, without access to any technology. Moreover, these “wild” Goa’ulds would be hunted by their more successful counterparts and get destroyed as soon as possible. Now I had a chance to take not the last place in the hierarchy of power of the System Lords, plus a ship and some freedom of action. And the assignment I received immediately provoked thoughts of a ‘Deus Ex Machina’, of which the Being had alerted me. Of course, this Deus Ex Machina looked more like a mousetrap or even a bear trap, but in my opinion, the chances were good for me.

Having passed through the gate, I studied the symbols on the dial, remembering the address of Chulak and other planets from which visitors came. The gate addressing system in this world was more in keeping with the canon of the Stargate Atlantis series. There were always the same char combinations on the typesetters, and one combination always opened the portal to the same destination. The only exception was the "last character" of the address, which was different on every planet. But this character was always on the dial and in the gate ring at the same place, so it was only a design choice .

Remembering the addresses used, I looked around at my surroundings . It was a desert world, where the vegetation merely consisted of withered tufts of grass. Although, of course, it would be foolish to speak for the whole world based on the characteristics of the area where the gates were installed. Perhaps there were  jungles, swamps, or polar caps of ice, but in this place there was only a dry, hilly desert, without even signs of river channels.

In the distance, a dilapidated building of enormous size was visible. It was difficult to say how it used to be, but the bluish color of this man-made mountain was very different from the yellow-gray surroundings. I gave the command to move in the direction of the building, and at the same time while walking, I began to recall what they had told me about this place.

About a kilometer from the building, there was an area, where people and even the Goa’ulds began to hallucinate . If the victim was seduced by one of these images,  or turned back, then they would immediately be destroyed by the pulse weapon of the Ancients, towering on the roof of the building. The only chance to survive was to reach the building, enter inside the main hall and once there make a wish that was not too difficult to fulfill. Approximately one in a hundred succeeded, and if he survived, would be given the opportunity to leave the vicinity of the building. All the others died from various causes, after which their corpses were teleported from the hall to the outside.

I stopped at the top of a hill a kilometer and a half away from the building. Apparently, I was not the only intelligent person to have come  here, for this place showed numerous traces of the presence of intelligent beings. I even found a half-rotten hut made of sticks and animal skins, and a kind of throne of stones. Having taken a strategic position on the throne, I chose one of the suicide from my Jaffa.

“Jaffa, listen to me, Cree. Now you, Cree, go to this building, go inside through the main entrance, and then come back. In your mind’s eye you will see different images , promising the fulfillment of all sorts of desires, Cree. You must, Cree, give up all those desires, Cree. Remember only me, Cree, and serving me, Cree. I am Imhotep, the god of knowledge and architecture. Serving me, Cree, should be your only desire, Cree. Only in this way, Cree, can you survive this test, Cree. Go Cree. Jaffa, Cree!”. Very strange, I have used word “Cree” very much, apparently my snake body loves to say it.

The Jaffa looked at me with a dumb look, then tightened his hold on the spear and walked away to carry out my order. In the meantime, I followed his consciousness with the help of  my symbiote, which stuck a tentacle directly into his brain. While the subject went forward, I focused on exploring the Asgard ship. The ship was in a building almost at the very border of a my symbiote’s  ability. From my side it seemed to be whole, but from the side of the citadel there was a hole a half meter wide in it. Inside, I found a mutilated alien corpse.

I would try to pull out the spare parts I needed with telekinesis, but at that distance it was too weak to lift an object weighing more than a couple of kilograms. Therefore, I had to ‘strain my brain’ in an attempt to come up with another way. Time was plentiful , so I plunged into the study of the ship’s device

At a certain point, it became clear that my Jaffa had begun to encounter glitches. This was not a dramatic change. Rather, the usual background thoughts gradually intensified, and now it became clear that this state was not normal. The source of the glitches was in the building. It was some kind of hypno-emitter. I slightly helped the test subject so that he could resist visions that promised a life of paradise far from the Goa’uld. But by the time he entered the building, my assistance had disappeared, because the symbiote’s tentacles could no longer reach him.

Half an hour later in the doorway appeared a figure of a man who staggered in our direction. It soon became clear that this was my subordinate, who had lost almost all clothing and weapons. When he got to us, I sat on the throne and with disgust looked at the former Jaffa. While he was  in the building, the Goa’uld was removed and the pouch where he lived was extracted . But the unknown “benefactor” did not take care to return the Jaffa’s immune system to the human norm, so a slow and painful death awaited this loser.

“Looks like you dreamed of breaking free from the power of the gods. Well, I will provide you with freedom. I will throw you into the wild world, where you will live out the miserable existence of a peasant for the rest of your days.” I needed to maintain the image of a typical Goa’uld, otherwise the Jaffa themselves would not have understood me. “Your faith in me was not strong enough, and here is the result.”

Nine other Jaffa looked at their former comrade with disdain. Peasants in this wild feudal society occupied the lowest level of the social pyramid.

I rose from my throne and went to the building of the Ancients. As always, I had to do everything myself. For a start, I erected defenses around my mind that completely shielded all attempts to influence me or to read my thoughts. This was a time ‘to cheat’ with the powers of a symbiote. I walked slowly, with dignity, so I had plenty of time to explore the ship in question. The navigation computer turned out to be a quick-change unit, so I was able to pull it out quite easily.

Having answered this question, I turned to the study of the Ancient’s pulse gun, which stood on the roof of the building and continued to aim at me as I walked. If something went wrong, I could break the gun and go back without risking being roasted with high-temperature plasma.

When I reached the entrance, I found a short corridor leading to a large hall. The interior of the hall showed a striking contrast with the exterior of the building. Everything was clean, whole, there was not a single speck of dust or scratches. Numerous lamps gave off a pleasant white light. The walls, floor and ceiling were decorated with geometric patterns with some mathematical pattern. At least they looked deliberate  and the mathematical proportions were visually pleasing.

“For what purpose did you visit this place?” There was a dissatisfied male voice. The source of the sound was a pair of speakers, slyly hidden behind a series of wall panels.

“I am Imhotep, the god of knowledge and architecture. What is your name?”

“I am the great and all-powerful ruler of the universe, the god of gods, the keeper of the heritage of the Ancients, the executor of desires. What do you wish, mortal?”

“Who are you in general? Who in life? What are you doing? What is your function?”

This conversation increasingly reminded me of the communication of the blind with the deaf. But, it seems, I asked the right question. Judging by the insides of the building, there were no living things here.  I was dealing with some kind of artificial intelligence.

“I ... provide visitors ... storage with a friendly interface,” revealed a voice with obvious hesitations.

“I'm looking for knowledge of the Ancients.” It look like this AI was something like a librarian.

“What kind of knowledge do you need, worm?” Something of friendliness in this interface showed for a bit. Or did the AI mean my real body? “You do not belong to those who are allowed access to the wisdom of the Ancients. Ask too much and I will destroy you.”

And here, it seemed, was the answer to the question of why the majority of visitors to this place died.

“I want to learn to speak and read in the language of the Ancients.” I made my bet.

The answer was silence, which a female voice interrupted after a dozen seconds.

“Teach him language.”

It looked  like there was another virtual person.

“I obey.” A second voice answered, carefully suppressing the anger bursting out.

I partially removed the mental shield, and a wide flow of information poured into the brain of my host. It seemed that the unknown "friendly interface" decided to execute the order word to word. On the other hand, I was not ready to allow some kind of AI to rape my mind. It would be easier for me later to extract the knowledge of the language from the brain of the host, even if it would take more than a year.

After a couple of minutes, the abuse of the my human host’s brain was over, and I heard the parting words.

“Get out of here, ugly creature.”

“It seems your friendly interface is not so friendly after all.” I expressed my dissatisfaction, after which I turned and walked away.

“Thank you for your feedback. We will consider your opinion. Looking forward to seeing you again.” A pleasant female voice answered.

I left the artificial intelligence to deal with each other, and went away from the building so that my path followed the length of  the ship. My host’s head was splitting from pain, so I harnessed the symbiote for its treatment. When I got to the ship, I climbed inside, and quickly pulled out the Asgard’s computer; it was about the size of a liter Coca-Cola bottle. After I got what I needed, I walked along, trying to get out of the Ancients weapon’s range as quickly as possible.

The Jaffa greeted me with eyes filled with true faith. Together we reached the gate, where I sent the future peasant to one of the random addresses of a planet not ruled by Apophis stored in the memory of the DHD. For myself and my companions, I opened the way to one of the planets under Apophis’s dominion, where we could rest for a while. I urgently needed to take care of the health of my host. Writing data to the brain was clearly designed for the brain of the Ancient One, so the human body suffered it with difficulty.

We settled in the “guest house” in the village near the gate. There I sat to meditate, ordering the Jaffa to guard me and the Asgard instrument. I was able to return to the normal perception of reality only after three days. I no longer risked losing the newly-received source knowledge of the Ancients. But there were still losses. The soul of my host did not withstand the experienced pain and choosed to part with its physical sheath, that is, to die. I had to urgently take over the functions of maintaining life in the body and, most importantly, mental activity in the brain.

In a sense, now it was my body. But I didn’t merge with her, planning to change the body in the future. I did not want to stay in the female body. And well, if it were the body of a beautiful woman, things might have been different, but the girl was scary as death. So I did not see the point in saving this vessel.

Having washed and had breakfast, I headed for the Stargate. On Chulak, I was met with vanity and Jaffa squads guarding the gates. After a rapid exchange of information, I gathered that Earth’s SG-1 team had invaded the planet, resulting in Teal’c’s betrayal of his master. Apophis had flown from here to his main planet, where his fleet was located.

I did not know the address of that particular planet. In my memory were the addresses of secondary planets, like the one from which I had just come, but Apophis did not trust the most important information to his offspring. Naturally, no one was going to give me this address ... not until I presented the Asgard’s device. One of the Jaffa, eager after being shown the device, had made an attempt to take the artifact from me on the pretext of transferring it to Apophis. I simply killed him for his insolence. I don't let any type of stupid minions to command to me.

Finally, the Jaffa contacted their god and I got the go-ahead to go to him. As a result, I, the nine of “my” Jaffa and three dozen other Jaffa  passed through the gate to another planet. Then we had to take the big shuttle that took us to Apophis’s Ha’tak. He received me right away. It looked like he was very interested in my device.

“Apophis, I have executed your order. To prove my strength, I brought you a navigation computer from the Asgard ship. Now, I expect you to complete your part of the deal and give me the ha'tak.”

The conversation took place in a large gathering of people, and I tried to reduce the chances that my father would take his words back.

“Bring me the artifact,” commanded Apophis.

One of his Jaffa came up to me and took the loot. As soon as it fell into the hands of Apophis, he began to scan it with a device strapped to his left hand.

“Yes, this is exactly what I need. Thank you.” I skeptically raised an eyebrow. Did a goa’uld thank me? Seriously? “As for the ship you spoke of, I have already appointed a commander there.” But now everything had become clear. It was a way to say: you can forget my thanks and piss off.

“Are your words worth nothing?” I turned to Apophis, who was already assembled to leave. “I will help you to save your face. I agree to call the commander of this ha'tak to a duel to win my right to command it .”

“Are you so confident in your abilities?” Apophis asked, slightly interested.

“I easily dealt with the Ancients who were guarding the Asgard ship, what can a little god do to me? Especially one who got his first ha'tak? I'll turn him into dust.”

“Good. I give my permission to this duel. Follow me.”

I went after Apophis. We passed several corridors and entered a room that could be called a treasury. The room contained not only Goa’uld artifacts. However, there was enough piles gold and jewels in their composition. The Goa’uld in this regard reminded me of gypsies. Their sense of beauty entailed a heap of gold and precious stones combined into an ugly and conspicuous shape. Their design made my perfectionist side bleed internally.

“Hold on, this weapon will help you in the battle.” Apophis handed me a golden "glove", which should be worn on the left hand,similar to his. “Additionally, you can choose two more items in this treasury. Appreciate my kindness, son.”

“I am grateful to you, father.”  I waved, looking at the artifacts and scanning them with my  symbiote.

The Goa’uld possessed a weak ability to influence consciousness on the world around them. And all these artifacts required the presence of such abilities for their work. However, I replaced this effect with the tentacles of my symbiote. It was much easier.

From the variety of all  the pieces, I chose a personal shield generator to protect me against energy attacks and something like glasses or a visor containing a telepathically-controlled computer. The last item was clearly converted from a device of the Ancients. I put all three artifacts on me and turned to Apophis.

“I'm ready for a duel,”  I announced proudly.

“Why do you need this glasses?” Apophis was surprised. I found this artifact in the most distant and dusty corner, so it seemed he did not even know that there was such a thing.

“This is a device for storing knowledge. As a god of knowledge, it is absolutely necessary for me.”

“Ah, I see.” In the voice of the Goa’uld there was  disappointment. “Come.” We left the treasury and walked along the intricate corridors of the spacecraft. “You should know the rules of the duel. You are forbidden to kill your opponent. The winner of the duel takes all the property of the loser. Only artifacts granted by me are allowed to be used. There should be no other weapons in the arena. Is this clear?”

“Yes, father. Believe in my strength. No enemy can stand against me.”

As we walked, I investigated the “glove” issued to me. Since Apophis had presented it to me, I suspected some sort of setup. And for sure, this artifact was defective. It had many functions, but in combat, only something like a telekinetic push and a paralyzing beam were available. Outwardly, everything looked fine, but If I tried to use these functions, there would be an overload of the crystal, and the weapon would not work.

I determined this by using the diagnostic functions of the visor. I began to like the “visor” more and more. I did not complain about the defective item. Anyway, I was not going to use the glove in battle. I had a symbiote, and if I wanted, I could turn any opponent into a bloody pulp in less than a second.

We went into a room with a teleportation device and transported to another ship. Here I immediately noted the antiquity of the design. It was difficult to say what exactly created such an impression, but the premises instilled a sense of belonging to some secret knowledge on a universal scale. Most likely, it was in the patterns covering the walls, and the combination of silver and gold metals, in contrast to Apophis’s gaudy, solid gold ship.

Then we proceeded to the cabin of the ha’tak, where there was ... Skaara. I still remembered this petty runt.

“Klorel.”  Apophis welcomed my opponent.

“Greetings, father.” My brother bowed his head.

“You must pass the test. Fight your brother and prove that you are worthy of being my heir. His name is Imhotep. If you lose the duel, then this ship will belong to him.”

“I won't let you down, father.”

“Get ready for battle. In two hours your duel will take place. I will be watching here, from the side of my ha’tak.”

At this Apophis turned and left, leaving us viciously looking at each other. Looked like dad had decided to furnish his beloved son with artifacts from the treasury. Klorel had a whole arsenal of combat and defense artifacts, and not one of them was defective.

Once again I glanced over to my opponent and left the cockpit. Not far from here was a guest room, where I headed. There I spent two hours tasting the set of poisons that the slaves brought me, the antidotes to which I easily found using  Panacea’s power. It seemed that Klorel had decided that the rules of the fight were not for him. Or was it usual for the Goa’uld to poison each other? Almost every dish I was served contained a poison of a new type. None of them were fatal, but every one could cause enough problems to influence the outcome of the duel.

The duel was to be held in the Gate’s hall. There, inside the Stargate ring, a holographic device was already hanging, transmitting a view of Apophis’s head. All extra boxes and equipment were removed, leaving an empty room. The Jaffa guards left us, closing the door behind them. Only the "gods" could watch the duel. Mere mortals should not see the moment of their masters' weakness.

“Are you ready?” On the face of Apophis was a characteristic mocking smile.

“Yes, father.” Klorel nodded, his eyes glowing.

“This duel will be just one more step on my way to exaltation,” I replied. There was no point for me to flash my eyes, because they were hiding behind the visor. Apparently, because of this, this device was not popular.

“Yes, begin the fight,” announced Apophis in the spirit of Mortal Kombat.

“When I ...” Klorel tried to say something, but my telekinetic impulse knocked all the air out of him and put his back against the wall. Simultaneously with the push, I threw my right hand forward, although the glove was on the left.

“When you are what?” I asked, once again traumatizing the wall with the  body of the Goa’uld. He tried to resist, but did not succeed. I simply did not let him protect himself or use any of his devices. “I'll give you one piece of advice, from brother to brother.”  Simultaneously with my instructions, I repeatedly hit my enemy against the wall, traces of blood already staining his skin and clothes. “Instead of chatting during the battle, it is better to focus on the enemy. You were too arrogant and did not even attempt to defend yourself. You are not worthy to be my rival. I am Imhotep - the God of Knowledge. And as you can see, knowledge is power.”

I threw aside Skaara’s squashed carcass and turned to the gate.

“Apophis, I won this duel. Now this ship belongs to me. I will send Klorel to you through the gate after I heal him in the sarcophagus. And now I need to refurbish my ship. The next time you hear about me, your chest will be bursting with a sense of pride for what you sired . Goodbye.”

“Wait. How did you beat him?” my dear father asked, shocked.

“What are you talking about? It was the magic of the Goa’uld. I am God! My power is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.”

“This is the device of the Ancients,” Apophis surmised. “You found it in that temple and hid it from me.”

In response, I just mockingly laughed and turned off the communication device, not letting Apophis utter another word.

After that, I went to the cockpit, levitating behind me the unconscious body of Skaara and his master, Klorel. There was a healing sarcophagus in the control room, where I unloaded this body, divesting it of all technical devices. Next, I activated the ship’s control system. It looked like a regular red crystal. But in reality it was a telepathic interface granting me control over all the systems of the ship.

I did not yet try to understand the details, but made the order to begin the ascent into orbit, turn on the shields and block the transport rings. The ship vibrated, buzzed and shook, and then with some effort pulled away from the ground and soared into the sky. Apophis did not open fire on me, as he did not even chase me, though there were several attempts to activate the transport ring.

I freely went into orbit, after which I gave the command to turn on the hyperdrive. One of the planets of the neighboring System Lord Baal was our destination. The ship buzzed even more. Instead of entering hyperspace, it began to tremble more and more. Finally, when I began to think that the ha'tak would explode or fall apart, it moved into hyperspace. Something was clearly wrong with this ship.

Having estimated my current speed, I found out that I had to fly for at least three days. So for a start, I focused on diagnosing the technical condition of the ship. After reviewing these self-diagnostic systems, I did not believe the report and decided to examine the ship with my own eyes.

Going down the stairs to the technical rooms and going around them, I realized the bitter truth. When Apophis said that ‘he built three ships to replace this’, he meant that, after dismantling this ship, he had managed to build three others. In fact, all I had was a ship hull, living quarters, two guns and a reactor powering the whole thing. The computer showed that there were no maneuvering engines, no hyperdrive, or even a shield generator in this hunk of junk. It was miracle that we were even able to rise into the air and fly away.

In order to figure out what was going on, it was necessary to investigate all the technical aspects of the ship, which was best done on the surface of the planet, and not during the flight. Furthermore, these circumstances required a review of my plans. Previously, I was going to fly to one of Baal’s planets and rob a couple of mines of Naquadah. But considering the current state of the ship, I was not sure that I would be able to go to hyperspace at all the second time.

I started looking for a new destination in the ship’s planet database. An hour later, I had selected one. It was a "landless" planet with a dry climate. There were a couple of Naquadah deposits, but they were very poor concentration, so their development was considered unprofitable. Also, there was a Stargate on the planet, but it was located too far from both deposits. In general, I was sure that if I settled there, no one would miss me for the next thousand years.

The planet was located in the opposite direction of my travel, so I had to manually input the course change calculation into the computer program. Periodically, with a few slight maneuvers, I was able to change my destination, although the computer tried to convince me that this was impossible. Stupid technique of stupid Goa'uld.

After the ship set on the right course, I went to check the crew. A little more than a hundred Jaffa armed with the latest technology, that is, spears, were under my command. At least these spears could shoot. In the hangar there was a shuttle tel’tak and a multi-functional bomber alkesh. Also in the warehouse was food stock for a couple of months. In general, you can live, but not for long.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6.02 - Stargate

The last thing I checked was the hostage, dear brother of mine. He was almost recovered, so I adjusted the treatment program to keep him in a state of sleep. After that, I just had to retire to my private room and study the language of the Ancients and personal Goa’uld artifacts.

We left hyperspace rather far from the planet, so we had to fly two more days at sublight speeds. I did not dare to reactivate the hyperdrive. Who knew how much longer it would last. During the flight, I scanned the planet and found those two deposits of Naquadah on it. One was large and with very low metal content in the ore. The second was better, but the whole field was localized by a small deposit  and the total reserve of Naquadah was at the level of five percent of the previous one.

As a landing site, I chose the second field. At least it could somehow begin to develop with some assistance from the typical methods of the Goa’uld, that is, with pickaxe and shovel. Free slave labor, in my opinion, was the most primitive way to develop deposits.

Hovering at an altitude of five kilometers, I began to examine the surroundings of the field. The mountain I needed was surrounded by  desert -- pure sand as far as the eye could see to the west. Ten kilometers to the east there was a small chain of mountains where there were sources of water and a settlement of people. The level of technology in the village corresponded to the environment. They were clearly primitive, for their houses had been built of mere stones and clay. The trees here had never sprouted, so the animal dung served as their fuel. The only sign of agriculture to be found was in the region of a trickling brook flowing from the mountain. In general, the situation was so dismal that I even started to think about giving up any use of native people.

In the end, I landed on the sand two kilometers from the Naquadah field. The ship buzzed for the last time and froze like a lifeless pile of metal. I had less than a ton of Naquadah fuel, so the ship’s next flight could definitely be its last. Having immersed all the systems of the ship in a state of energy saving, I then went to take care of the prisoner.

I put Klorel and his host to sleep, by injecting him with a horse’s dose of sleeping medication. Because the Goa’uld had very strong immunity against all types of drugs and medicine, I was certain that his heart would not stop from the high dose. After that, I pulled him out of the sarcophagus, dressed him in rags and plunged him into the tel’tak. Along with a couple dozen Jaffa I flew to the gate. There we used gate to go to one of the neutral planets, from there to another, and so on. From the third planet I opened the gate to one of Apophis’s planets, where a dozen of my Jaffa went, carrying their Apophis’s son. With me remained ten, and we moved to the fourth planet, from there to the fifth, finally returning to the first. The third and fifth planets were quite lively, so I figured that the information about my transition would quickly be erased from the DHD, and it would be impossible to track my trajectory. The Jaffa themselves didn’t see the addresses I had  dialed, and therefore couldn’t say anything.

Returning to the ha'tak, I ran into a whole delegation of Jaffa that had come out to meet me.

“My God, Great Imhotep, will you please explain to us what exactly we will do in this desert world?”  It was the leader of my troops who addressed me.

“Of course. You will execute my orders, you do not need to know anything about my plans. You won’t be able to understand anyway. Any more questions?”

The Jaffa looked at each other in confusion.

“And what will be your order, oh your divine mercy?”

“Sit on the ship and do not interfere with me. You should not go to the nearest settlement yet. Later, I myself will visit these savages. You have nothing to do? Then exercise. In a couple of days I will arrange a test of your skills. Whoever can not resist me in hand-to-hand combat, will go to mine Naquadah.”

The eyes of the fighters widened in horror. Naquadah was a radioactive metal, and those who mined it died in less than a year. Even carriers of symbiotes in their bellies lived in the mines for no more than five years. After my promise, the Jaffa immediately rushed to the gym, where they began to practice  methods of wrestling and handbattle.

I went to explore the technical rooms of the ship. The five Jaffa serving as my “honorary guard” followed me. The technical areas were empty, and all the equipment had been uprooted. I had to scan the ship with my symbiote’s tentacles and compare its readings with the plan of the ship in the computer.

Finally, I was able to localize fairly long, but fairly thin devices that stretched across the entire hull of the ship and adjacent narrow technical passages. Finding a way to get into these rooms took another fifteen minutes. Finally, I got to the right place. The entrance to the small room corresponded to its size — it was a narrow and low door. And on the other side of the storeroom littered with junk there were large double doors, the size of the whole wall. Opening them, I stumbled upon another wall of dull silver metal.

It had a small door through which the Jaffa could squeeze only after passing through on all fours. And what pleased me most of all, next to the door was a panel on which the text in the language of the Ancients glowed. It seemed that this kha'tak was made from the parts of the ship of the Ancients, and now I had reached the oldest part of it. I put my hand to the panel and slipped into the open passage.

There were narrow low corridors, in which there was absolutely no lighting. The Jaffa followed me, weapons held at the ready. Apparently, they also did not suspect that there were such premises on this ship. There was a rustle, and a small repair robot rolled out of the next corridor. He had four wheels and several manipulators. Before I could examine him properly, the Jaffa opened fire on him with their weapons. The robot flew off to the side and emitted a shower of sparks.

“Stop!”

But the stupid warriors did not listen to me and continued to shoot.

“Idiots!” I shouted, turning to the vandals, destroying the equipment of the Ancients. “Die!!!” Three figures were immediately torn to pieces by my symbiote. “You violated my order.” Seeing the expression on my face, the surviving couple shamefully threw down their weapons and darted away. “I won't see you again, ugly creatures.” I shouted after them. “For everyone who enters the utility rooms, I will kill two more of you. Useless creatures.”

I finally was able to calm my anger and turned to see what was left of the robot. Alas, it was completely and irrevocably destroyed. All crystals, wires and microcircuits were fried together in an amorphous mass. I spread the symbiote tentacles and began to look for similar mechanisms. Unfortunately, the corridors were full of all kinds of garbage, but there was not a single such robot in the area.

Only by rummaging around the entire ship from top to bottom, could I find a couple more of these same robots, but in much worse condition. They were in extreme deterioration, and barely moved. Another of my discoveries was the onboard computer of the Ancients, which controlled the work of these robots, as well as all the other systems of the ship.

Having figured out the scope of work, I was climbed into the living quarters of the Jaffa in fury, where I gave them an exemplary “spanking”.

“Listen to me, you miscarried sons of peasant whores. From now on, you are forbidden to leave the living quarters of the ship. For every violator, I will execute him and two more of you. Do not leave the ship, do not go to the control room, or to the transport rings or the shuttles. You are so stupid that I do not even trust you to clean the toilets. So you must sit and wait until I need you. The punishment for any wrongdoing is death. The punishment for disobedience is painful death. The punishment for stupidity is prolonged torture and death. I am a god of knowledge, and I do not need fools who are unable to distinguish a repair robot from a sand rat.”

At this point I finished pouring out streams of anger and irritation and went to study the computer of the Ancients.

A week later, I was able to determine the current state of the ship. Once upon a time it was the cargo ship of the Ancients, intended for the transport of ore. After the death of the civilization, the ship floated  in space for almost seven thousand years, after which it was discovered by the Goa’uld. The worms did not come up with anything better than cutting the ship into slices and cramming these fragments into the hull of the ha’tak. The computer of the Ancients was extremely puzzled by the new arrangement of engines and emitters of protective fields, but in the end was able to calculate a more or less working model for their use.

After some time, they decided to modernize the ship with the technology of the Goa’uld, adding new engines. So they did not come into opposition with the already existing technologies, the computer of the Goa’uld was connected to the computer of the Ancients, but, of course, again “through the ass”. And finally, about a thousand years ago, the ship came to Apophis, who did not even suspect the presence of the engine of the Ancients here, and therefore installed another system of engines and shields, leaving the existing one as a backup.

The reverse plunder of the ship began about fifty years ago and ended a couple of months before my appearance in this world. The remnants of the ship were planned to be driven away under their own power to one of the planets where the Goa’uld’s ships were sold for the price of scrap metal. Apparently, it was someone's cunning plan to deceive Apophis for a ship built with the technology of the Ancients. Because literally a couple of years before the beginning of the looting of the ship, someone directly connected to the computer of the Ancients and looked through the information on the state of the systems. Now I had this pearl, and I was not going to let others get it.

For the last thousand years the ship of the Ancients was on a decline. The computer had been set for maximum energy and material saving mode, therefore, the mechanisms had begun to decline. Of the eight repair robots, only three remained on the move, and only one of them was in a satisfactory condition. If it hadn’t been shot by the idiotic Jaffa. Fortunately, the remaining two robots could easily repair each other, and then proceed to repair the ship.

Alas, these plans were questionable, because rare chemical elements and a lot of energy were needed for repairs. If I didn’t start the industrial mining of the Naquadah, then the current reserves would only be enough for me to slightly pay up the engines, after which there would be no fuel even for getting off the ground. The Ancients’ ship  guzzled a lot of energy, so the engines of the Goa’uld were ten times more economical than it. However, the speed of movement they had were two orders of magnitude less. Ancient technology was fast, but expensive, whereas that of the Goa’uld was slow but cheap.

In order to solve the rising difficulties, I decided to create a computer model and choose the most optimal course of action. Fortunately, one feature of the Ancients' computers became clear. On Earth, computer programs were written in special languages, like C or Java, but the Ancients wrote programs ... in the language of the Ancients. That is, you could just write the text with instructions, and the computer itself would understand the meaning of this text and line up the necessary sequence of operations.

Based on the results of the iteration of several trillion simulations, an action plan was developed. The two robots began to repair each other. For their repair, a significant part of the life support system and the last pair of shield generators left over from the Goa’uld had to be used and thus became scrap metal. The generators had long been broken and disconnected from the general network, but the robots knew about their location.

Once the robots had successfully repaired themselves, they set about building a mining complex. The robots could not reproduce themselves, because they did not have drawings of the central processor, but they had drawings for a simpler processor capable of controlling simple mechanisms.

The complex process included a hybrid excavator, a truck, and an ore processing plant. It could crush the rock, load it into itself, filter for the most valuable materials, and then discard the waste. All this was done in accordance with the plans drawn up by the computer of the ship. According to the results of the calculations, it was furthermore necessary to introduce this machine to the Naquadah field and to transport ore concentrate to the ship several times a day. Then it was my turn, to process the concentrate into a set of chemically pure substances using my symbiote. And in the end, these materials came to the repair robots that were supposed to produce fuel for the reactor and components for the ship.

For the Jaffa, a place in this plan was found only as  guards. But this protection was vital, so that they somehow justified their existence. The fact was that the local fauna followed the path of gigantism. Suffice it to say that the roof coverings for the local residents’ buildings  were made from the bones of animals. These creatures gladly ate crops, domestic animals, humans and in general everything, even something that was only slightly different in appearance from stone would also be eaten.

Leaving the assembly of the equipment to the robots, I took a dozen stupid and idle Jaffa and took the shuttle to the nearest village. I needed a source of food and water, so the simplest option was to get the locals to share them with us. No, I was not going to rob them. With a similar approach, I probably would have died of hunger myself. I decided to raise local agriculture and pick up half of the crop as compensation.

The tel’tak flew to the village, made a couple of laps over it, landed, and I came out  in shining glory, accompanied by my Jaffa. The faces of the Jaffa were hidden with helmets in the form of a snake's head, and I wore the glasses of the Ancients, so the "divinity" of our origin did not cause anyone to doubt us.

“Who is in charge here? Come out, we will fight!”

I was met by a muscular man of an animal-like species with a cudgel in his hands. Even compared to the Jaffa, he looked like a giant. And where did they get so much food to feed such a boar?

“Yes, why fight with you? You would fold in half from one blow” he spoke, gesturing to the tribesmen. “Or do you suggest to arrange a battle in bed …”

I activated the symbiote, accelerated with telekinesis and struck this impudent swine with a blow to the stomach, from which he bent and flew back a couple of meters.

“Who else wants to say that he is stronger than me?” After witnessing my power, silence ensued. But then one of the villagers came up to greet me.

“Oh Mighty God, I am Stahor Sesmar Anub, the head of this village. We are glad to welcome you in our village.” The peasant greeted me with a sly look. After greeting, he respectfully bowed.

“I am Imhotep, the God of Knowledge and Architecture. I arrived on your planet on my own business, and for one thing I decided to do much good for your village with my appearance. I am going to help you grow a rich harvest, and in return I will take part of it for myself.”

“You won't get anything from us, you miserable swindler,” shouted some old man.

“Yes,yes! We will not even share cow’s shit with you ,” a fat woman joined.

The people raised in uproar, and some began to pick up stones and throw them at me. I waited five seconds, and then with one motion of my hand I dismembered all those who disagreed. The people froze, and then screams of horror filled the air. Most of those present ran away, but got tangled in their legs and fell to the ground. The strength of my symbiote was not enough to hold the entire crowd at once, and therefore I just caught their legs.

“Silent!!! I am God! And I have the power to destroy you all here and now!!!” I soared into the air, wrapped in darkness. Such focus had caused a state of dumbness even for the Jaffa. “I am cruel, but fair. Those who bow down before me will rise and prosper. Those who dare to contradict me await a fate worse than death. On your knees, mortals!”

I glanced around the audience, and one by one, people began to fall on their knees and crouch to the ground. I was not at all pleased with this whole farce, but it was the quickest way to subordinate these people to myself. Primitive inhabitants of primitive society knew what the power of the strong was, and therefore they easily inclined to those who could demonstrate this power.

The demonstration of my abilities made it possible to begin successful negotiations, from which I learned the state of the local economy.

People lived here mainly due to agriculture. There were two rainy seasons in a year. Great in winter and small in summer. In a month the summer season would begin, but now the fields were empty. Only near the creek were there several areas where they grew fresh greens. The main scourge of the people were invasions of wild animals, which had to be driven away by the whole tribe. Sometimes this was not possible, and then the tribe was left without crops and was forced to tighten their belts. There had always been few reserves, and the high mortality among hunters forced this society to balance on the verge of eternal hunger. An increase in the birth rate, as a rule, led to a lack of food, from which the most frail layers of the proletariat died. In general, this was quite the ordinary life of primitive people.

I was going to provide the village with water and give them the seeds of normal vegetables and grains. All that needed to be done  was to drill a well, install a pump with a Naquadah generator and select the most suitable soil for growing crops in the arid and sunny climate from the stocks of the products in the ha’tak.

The Jaffa themselves had to organize the protection of the mine, the fields, the village and the ha’tak. In addition, they were responsible for the transportation of ore concentrate and equipment. I arranged the promised verification of the skills of hand-to-hand combat, results of which determined who would be on duty at the mine, and who would relax, guarding the villagers.

Assembly and installation of the pump passed without problems. I drilled a well to a depth of almost a kilometer, where a powerful aquifer was discovered. Water from there immediately went to irrigate the fields on which the plants began to grow, even though the rainy season had not yet begun.

Having organized the process of providing jaffa with products and meal, I went deep into developing a ship recovery plan. After increasing mining and processing facilities, the robots had to start producing new Ancient engines on the basis of the available drawings. Initially, the cargo ship was much more modest than the ha’tak. Plus, the elements of the hyperdrive were far from the best. So the ship moved with difficulty.

I was going to produce at least ten times more necessary elements and arrange them according to the schematics calculated by the computer. More precisely, all this should have been done by robots. There were only two of them, so the process of repairing the ship threatened to drag on. To speed it up a little, I gave the command to build eight repair robots with primitive processors. They were able to perform simple operations on their own, and the two full-fledged robots had to manage these other eight, passing instructions to action.

Another planned change was the construction of the bottom of the ship. The Ha'tak was a four-sided pyramid, which when landing was supposed to "sit down" atop another pyramid. The Pyramid of Cheops was built just as a landing site. But as a result of this design, the ship lost 80% of its internal volume. I planned to build a normal flat bottom near the pyramid, so that I could land on flat surfaces. The resulting interior space was to be used to accommodate ... the mining complex.

At one time, the ship of the Ancients was used to transport ore. The computer downloaded the drawings of another ship, which was supposed to be engaged in mining minerals on asteroids;it sucked the crushed asteroid into its womb, and then spat out the waste products; collected materials were then transported by automatic trucks.

After construction, I would get a source of unimaginable wealth. I could get all the Naquadah on this planet in a week. Such a scale could not be compared with how this element was mined by the goa’ulds. Those generally mastered a dozen technologies of the Ancients and used them to suppress the technical level of all other civilizations in the galaxy.

Alas, there was still plenty of time before such a triumph. According to the computer calculations, it needed more than a year to complete all plans. Now, if I had the drawings of the processor of the repair robot, it would be possible to cope in a couple of weeks. Eh. Well at least I got something as useful  as the neural interface of the Ancients from Apophis, in the form of the glasses I wore. Without it, access to the computer would have been limited by the rights of the guest account, and all the information would have to be entered through a small terminal designed to control the ship's gateway. And so it was enough for me only to think, and the ship’s computer immediately offered possible solutions to the next task.

While my flagship of the Triumph class was being built, I decided to start rebuilding my tails. But then an unexpected problem surfaced. Chakra was still completely out of control to me. With magic, the situation was better, although the body of my Goa’uld and the human host did not have the slightest ability to use magic. It just cost me greatly to accumulate more than a certain amount of energy under my control, as the symbiote interfered in this process and literally devoured it. At the same time, it itself did not receive any benefit from such a meal.

I had to sit down to meditate and raise control. Through extreme stress, I could force the symbiote not to disturb me, but this was only a partial solution. I could raise the bar of the energy level at which the symbiote was spinning out of control, but could not prevent it completely. Using remnants of energy, I scanned my soul and began the painstaking process of repairing damage.

More than half a year I was engaged in my own recovery. At first, I still expected that the Being would soon come to me and say that my time was up. But he did not. In the past world, I spent less than a month. In this world, my "business trip" was clearly prolonged, which only pleased me.

After a lot of difficult and persistent meditations, I came to a disappointing conclusion: the restoration of the tails was impossible. Theoretically, it was possible, but for this, a huge amount of Bahion was needed, which I simply had nowhere to take from.

There was a workaround to solve the tails problem in another way. Each tail was essentially a “virtual drive” of Bahion. It could not be extracted from it, but I could try to somehow transform this Bahion by changing the tail itself. I had seven more normal tail germs. I could "throw" the ability from a injured tail to a healthy. But for this, too, Bahion was required, albeit in much more modest volumes.

Having decided on a new goal, I decided to organize a cult in my name in the nearest village. People there, in fact, already deified me, but I needed not glory, but energy. To begin with, I formalized the worship of my being by inventing appropriate rituals. I attended each of the events in person, focusing the attention on me. I felt how they generated Bahion ... only I didn’t get a drop of it. And it was terribly annoying.

Until the very end of the ship's construction, I struggled with this problem, but I did not come up with anything worthwhile to solve it. The only successful experiment required placing the believer in a special device, like a capsule, teaching him some rather difficult meditative techniques, and then introducing him into a state of religious ecstasy. And only then could the tiny drop of Bahion reached me. Alas, this was completely inadequate. I could not plunge the whole planet into the Matrix though, because I did not have such technology. All I could do was control one believer with the help of my symbiote’s abilities.

Finally, the day came when I entered the Triumph cabin and gave the command to take off. It was still a test flight, but in general, the ship was ready. Silently, the pyramid easily soared  to a height of three hundred meters into the sky. Hovering at a height of ten kilometers, I launched the equipment diagnostics. Not finding any problems, I put the ship into orbit, made a few circles around the planet, and then headed for the Naquadah field, which I had been developing for a year. During this time, I almost completely razed the mountain, having organized extensive waste dumps not far from it.

The Ha'tak hovered over the mountain, and then huge chunks of rock began to break off from it, soar up and disappear into the bottom of my ship. Having filled the hold completely, I switched the ship to ore processing mode. The technology of the Ancients in this regard was extremely effective. Just an hour later, the process was completed, and the ship flew off to the side, where it "gave birth" to a huge spherical rock, which crashed to the ground.

This rock was the result of the mechanism of the Ancients, designed for mining in the asteroid belt. Instead of producing millions of tons of small space debris, the ship left behind meticulous meteorites that did not endanger the spacecraft.

During the day, I completely processed the entire deposit, leaving a quarry several hundred meters deep. It took a couple more hours to fill this quarry with waste rock taken from the dumps. Having finished with this task, I put the ship in its former place, after which the robots started finishing all the systems, and I focused on my plans.

To begin with, it was necessary to take into account what I could get using the technology of the Ancients in the Goa’uld ha'tak. The ship of the Ancients, whose equipment I obtained, was a truck designed to transport ore. This implied excellent payload and good shields to protect against meteorites.

The hyperdrive was also not bad, although by the standards of the Ancients it was rather slow. More precisely, it had a high maximum speed, but to achieve it, it took a relatively long time. As a result, a flight to a neighboring star and to the other side of the galaxy required a comparable amount of time. In general, the maximum flight duration should not exceed a couple of hours, which by the standards of the Goa’uld was unrealistically fast.

With this all the advantages ended. There was no weapon schematic on the computer. All I had were two small Goa’uld guns mounted on top of the pyramid. This was enough only to fend off fighters or scare savages on the planets.

The crew teleportation system was initially present, but did not make it to our time, and there were no drawings of it. I therefore had to be content with the Goa’uld transport rings, which nevertheless managed to improve. Now I could teleport to any point within a radius of ten kilometers from the ship. At first the rings moved there, and then they stabilized the teleportation of people and cargo. But if desired, it was possible to use the regular mode of operation, where the ship acted only as the transmitting or receiving side.

I could supply tel’tak and alkes with improved shields, but their engines and weapons remained the same.

The most valuable at the moment were my reserves of Naquadah. The ship was priceless, but I could sell the Naquadah. In general, the term Naquadah in Goa’uld was the isotope of uranium-234, which in this world was metastable. This isotope easily absorbed thermal neutrons and divided into Thorium and Helium, but in the normal state its half-life was longer than that of uranium-238. The Ancients invented a cunning reactor that allowed this isotope to be split, producing lead and magnesium - completely non-radioactive materials. But this isotope was extremely rare.

In average I can extract about eleven ton Naquadaq from the mountain by cube size with sides six hundred meters. It might seem that this was a lot, but all this amount could fit into a cube with a side of eight and a half meters. For comparison, in order to fly to Apophis’s planet, I needed to spend ten tons of fuel. If you were to put the engine into economy mode, the consumption would be reduced to one ton, but I would need to fly more than five days. The voyage to the other side of the galaxy would cost me two hundred tons. In conclusion, the entirety of my stock was enough for about fifty long jumps over whole galaxy.

Having counted the number of ships in the galaxy, it became clear that mass interstellar flights were very expensive. And taking into account the rates of mining of minerals by the goa’uld, it turned out that military actions required tens or even hundreds of years of fuel production.

When I was planning the extraction of a Naquadah on this planet, I simply did not understand what the “base concentration” mark in the description means. Under natural conditions, the concentration of uranium-234 in natural uranium was only 0.0057%. This was too little to get it in the required quantities using primitive technology.

This position of the Naquadah deposit was saved, where it was contained not in thousandths of a percent, but more than half of the total uranium mined. In their time, they were created by the Ancients, irradiating quite ordinary uranium deposits. For such deposits, internal battles between the goa’uld were fought, and the use of slave labor on them completely paid off. After all, crushing and manual sorting of the ore made it possible to immediately obtain a concentrate, where the content of nakadak reached up to thirty percent by weight.

I was able to extract reserves of Naquadah from a natural field, where its concentration was close to zero. The second deposit here was the same, but there was an even lower concentration of uranium itself. So even with my technology, I did not see the point in developing these deposits.

Now I was going to visit the asteroid belt and hammer the one with Naquadah, developing radioactive asteroids. After that, I planned to visit the planet of System Lord Ptah. According to the memoirs of Apophis, he was one of the goa’uld who were engaged in the construction of space ships "for sale". I found the coordinates of his planet in the goa’uld navigation computer. There I was going to buy weapons for the ship, supplies and ... a new host for myself. Ptah offered for sale not only equipment, but also specially grown people who are in perfect physical shape. True, few have used these services because of fearing  specially laid genetic defects or poison.

Alas, my calculations to find an asteroid rich in uranium turned out to be a ghostly hope. I had to search in the database for the planet, where already explored deposits were present. One of these planets, marked as unpromising, was in the zone of influence of Baal. Having reached it, I did not find traces of spaceships in orbit or the surface of the planet. After that, I just had to find a suitable field and start its development.

A week later, sensors detected two ships exited from hyperspace. I immediately began to climb, simultaneously stopping the processing of the next batch of ore. From a height of fifty kilometers I threw off a stone “ball” with a diameter of a hundred meters. By the time I reached the orbit where it was possible to go into hyperspace, the ball fell on the field, causing a good explosion, as if from a fallen meteorite.

The ships turned out to be two ha’tak with additional modules. These modules are discoid “growths” on the pyramid served as hangars for fighter-interceptors and allowed to generate more stable shields.

I did not linger, but hurriedly escaped into hyperspace before the ships reached the attack distance. After that, I laid a course to Ptah’s planet. Now I had enough resources to buy a small fleet if necessary.

Coming out of the hyperspace in the orbit of the planet, I almost immediately received an incoming video call.

“The owner of an unidentified ship, name yourself and the purpose of your arrival.” A goa’uld talked to me, dressed in gold and silk.

“I am Imhotep, the god of knowledge and architecture.” I introduced myself. “I arrived to trade.”

“What do you want to offer us?”

“Naquadah.”

“Acceptable. Follow to the central spaceport.”

I received the coordinates of the landing site on my computer, where I immediately went. On the way I was accompanied by three ha'tak. They looked anxious, but I attributed this behavior to the typical goa’uldish paranoia. The place allocated to me turned out to be a landing pyramid. I no longer had a corresponding dredging in the bottom, but I simply hovered in the air. The benefit of the Ancients' engines allowed me to do this almost without using energy.

A proposal came to the computer to teleport to the palace, located a couple of kilometers from the cosmodrome. I collected two dozen jaffas and teleported to marked place with small groups each of ten jaffa.

Ptah’s Palace made an impression to me. First of all, the walls and columns covered with golden bas-reliefs and precious stones were thrown into the eyes. All the people around were perfectly beautiful and dressed in bright clothes. We were met by a goa’uld, with whom I spoke via video link earlier.

“I greet you in Memphis, the city of the great Ptah. I am Apis, manager of this city. What would you like to purchase?” It seems that they’re not very happy to meet me, because no one even suggested that I sit down or go to a separate room.

“I need a hundred maximum power guns for ha’tak, a set of shield generators and a man host. Also, I am interested in purchasing information.”

“The host? One? Woman?” asked Apis. His expression was unreadable, but the symbiote felt a slight disgust at the sight of my body. The girl I inhabit experienced overloading of information in the brain, and now looked somewhat out of condition, even despite the daily sleep in the sarcophagus.

“Three. Men. I want to feel what it is like to have a snake between legs.”

Apis laughed at my joke.

“We can provide to you all of the above. Now I will show you what weapons and shields we can offer you, and then my assistant will take you to Gardens of Amara, where you can choose a host.”

We went to a device that resembles a computer screen, where I looked at the characteristics and layout of the device offered for sale of guns. Skimming through the range, I chose the most powerful guns. In addition to a large charge force, it had the fastest guidance system. If desired, these guns could be fired at fighters. True, none of the goa’uld would not do this without extreme need, because their energy consumption was monstrous. But I was interested in this question last, because by the standards of the Ancients it was a very low budget option. If desired, I could shoot all the hundreds of guns at the same time.

I took not the most reliable shields, but those that could generate a force field at a great distance from the ship. They primarily interested me as a cover for the fact that my ship possesses the technology of the Ancients. And so I will have the outer shield of the goa’ulds and the inner shield of the Ancients, located just a few meters from the spaceship’s hull.

The prices for the equipment, of course, made me somewhat upset, but with my reserves, I could afford it to myself. After the formation of the order, I went to some Gardens, in fact, being a reservation, in which people of many ethnic groups lived. There were negros, chinese, whites, and dozens of different nationalities. I wanted to get three white men with developed muscles and Slavic-Nordic features. The choice of bodies was delayed for two hours, but at the end the hosts arranged me in all respects, including the length of the “snake”.

I did not dare to leave them with the seller for “presale preparation,” and immediately ordered them to follow me. I also feared poisons and all sabotage, and therefore I decided not to give in to unnecessary temptations.

Chapter Text

When I reached the reception hall, I left the hosts with the jaffa guard, and went to the ship to organize the transfer of the squad in exchange for slaves. Fifteen minutes later I sent the right amount of metal through the rings, after which I took the hosts to my ship and locked them in prison cells.

Returning to the palace, I again met Apis.

“I see you have already chosen your hosts. Your order for the guns is our high priority. They will be ready tomorrow morning …”

“Wonderful.” I commented and intentionally left a pause.

“Did you say something about the desire to buy information?”

“Yes. I am interested in the gate addresses in the galaxy and the description of the planets on which they are located.”

“This is ... very expensive information.”

“I hope I can still afford it.”

“Our database has addresses of more than twenty thousand gates. Of these, sixteen thousand leads to the planets with conditions suitable for life. For the remaining four thousand addresses there is no information. Cost of every hundred addresses of inhabited planet is ten thousand tons of Naquadah.”

“How many?”  I was indignant.

“I told you that this is expensive information. But I can assure you, you cannot find a detailed database such as ours anywhere else. Even the great System Lords do not have such information.”

“Well, yes, how would they have that much Naquadah?”

“Hahaha! You're right. So, will you buy?”

“I need to think. For the amount of Naquadah that you want for sixteen thousand addresses, I can buy fifty fully equipped ha'taks. I will give you my answer when I return to pick up my order.”

“Of course. Then please, have fun. Slaves here are ready to fulfill your every desires. Please note that some desires may need to be paid.”

“Thank you. I, perhaps, will return to the ship. I need to meet my future hosts.”

Saying goodbye, together with my jaffa, I left the palace and returned to the ship. Then began to study my purchase. The sarcophagus, naturally, did not show anything suspicious, but scanning with symbiote made it possible to find capsules with poison, cleverly hidden in bone tissues. I immediately deleted them. A change in the hormonal background of the organism was also discovered, which would make it impossible for me to change the host if I had lived with him for more than a couple of decades. This, too, was easily resolved, since my symbiote possessed all those abilities of Panacea.

Having prepared the hosts, I locked them in the cells, ordering Jaffa to watch them, feed them and immediately report to me if any problems appear.

The next day I visited the palace, where we went with Apis to the equipment warehouse, located in the open air next to the neighboring building. I checked all the weapons, and even tried a couple of guns in practice. When it came to the transfer of naquadak, I raised the question about buying of addresses.

“Apis, I thought about your offer to sell addresses, and decided to buy them.”

“Yes? And how many? A hundred? Two hundred?”

“Everything. Sixteen thousand addresses of habitable planets.”

“Seriously?” The eyes of my interlocutor bulged and lit up against his will.

“Yes. But I want to exchange right now. No delays, excuses or promises. Right now I will unload the Naquadah, after which I want to get addresses, detailed information on them and, of course, the ordered equipment.”

“I ... I ... well. Right now?”

“Yes. I'll unload the naquadah here. Are you ready to provide to me a database?”

“Uh-uh ... yes. I'll have to go to get it. It will take fifteen minutes.”

“Good. Then get ready to scan the load.”

I put on my glasses and through them gave the command to the ship's computer. It moved from the place of "parking", hovered above us, and then its bottom opened, and from there the cube of the naquadah with a side of forty-four meters smoothly descended. It consisted of smaller blocks, each one cubic meter which weight nineteen tons.

If recently Apis bulged his eyes, now his jaw dropped. Having stood in shock for almost a minute, he rushed to the technicians, forcing them to scan the metal. All checks said one thing - this is pure naquadah.

“You have little time.” I said him, looking at the dark gray cube. “If in ten minutes I don’t get the database, then most of the naquadah will be returned to my ship.”

Apis looked at me with insane eyes, then swiftly ran away.

I did offer with such conditions specially. The less time the goa’uld have, the greater the chances that they will not have time to figure out how to deceive me. Greed overshadows the eyes of people, and the greed of the goa’uld was hundreds times larger.

While the bosses were absent, I activated the system of remote use of the rings, starting to teleport the guns into the ha'tak, since all the equipment was put up in the open space. I used special cargo rings with a larger diameter. One by one, the guns and shield emitters disappeared into the womb of my ship. The local jaffas were worried, but since I just unloaded the payment, and the bosses were absent, they did not take any active actions.

Within five minutes, Apis, sober, rushed to me, dragging a local analogue of the flash drive. I scanned it with my visor, copied the information and immediately transferred it to the ship. The on-board computer analyzed the entire package of information and issued a positive opinion on the quality of the data.

“Well, I'm glad that we were able to agree.” I summarized, watching as the last of the guns disappear. “I will recommend a deal with you to my friends. And now, please forgive me, but urgent matters await me. I recommend that you transfer this naqadah to warehouses as quickly as possible. Such a weight will inevitably cause soil subsidence, which can destroy neighboring buildings. I declare this to you as the god of knowledge and architecture. Good luck.”

On this, me and a group of my jaffa were surrounded by transport rings, and we disappeared into the shine of light, moving to the hangar. From there I teleported to the control room, where I gave the order to depart. I left naquadah in place, although I was tormented by a feeling of greed, demanding to take all this wealth with me. So,my ‘ greed’ remained unsatisfied. If necessary, I can collect so many naquadah at any time. And after installing all the guns, I will not even need to hide. I can well afford to fall into the crown world of any System Lord and insolently rob him.

As soon as I left the atmosphere of the planet, I was surrounded by three ha’tak, and a call came to the communication system. And why am I not surprised?

“Imhotep, I order you to surrender. Immediately land the ship, or I will destroy you.”

From the screen, I was watched by a goa’uld with a powerful expression on his face and a seal of vice on him. It seems that it is Ptah himself. They came to senses and decided that since I broke up with so many naquadah, then surely I have even more on board. And they does not make mistakes.

“So this is your vaunted honesty about making deals? Initially, to sell something, and then immediately take it away? My patience is short. Immediately order your ships to retreat, or I will destroy them all. And do not say later that I did not warn you.”

“This is a bluff!” Objected Ptah. “We scanned your ship. You only have two small guns in the bow. Your ha’tak armor is also thin. This is a cargo ship. Give up and I will save your life.”

“You are pathetic. See my power, worm. To destroy your ships, I do not need even weapons.”

I broke the connection and told the computer to go ramming. The shields of the ship of the Ancients were designed for a direct collision with an asteroid, and the shaky Goa’uld technique could not harm me. The enemy ships began to fire at me.

I instantly accelerated and literally flew through one of the ships. He fell apart, then detonated the reactor, evaporating the fragments. Departing from a cloud of hot gas, I headed for the second ship. It tried to dodge, but its speed was simply not enough for this. I took down about half the ship, and the rest disappeared in a flash of a reactor explosion after a couple of seconds.

The third ship tried to go into hyperspace, but did not have time. I made a micro-jump, coming out of hyperspace next to the victim. The technique of the Ancients allowed me to do such tricks. I didn't even have to collide with the ship. The distortion of the space from my movement caused an overload of the hyperdrive, from which it exploded, causing detonation of the reactor in one.

I examined the wreckage of the enemy fleet, after which I gave a command to a computer to collect free resources, and I contacted the ruler of the planet.

“Ptah, you insulted me.” I said to the bewildered goa’uld, behind whom Apis loomed. “The next time I arrive here, you must provide me with three new ha’taks, in exchange for those destroyed by me. And if you dare to refuse, I will destroy you.”

Shining my eyes, I broke off the connection, let my ship finish collecting the debris and went into hyperspace. The absurdity of my demands should have convinced Ptah and his subordinates that it was better not to joke with me. If you know that your opponent is strong and inadequate, then you will try at least not to anger him.

Then I went to my planet. I needed time to prepare for the next point of my plan.

After landing, I gave the command to the computer to start the installation of the guns and gave the order to Jaffas to take one of human hosts I had chosen to one of the halls. The hall has been installed with golden throne with a low back. As I expected, the man quickly got tired of waiting for me, and he decided to try the throne on his ass. I was going to use the identity of the host for my own purposes, and therefore I wanted to make a little psychological preparation.

The doors to the hall opened, and I entered them in my female body. At first, the man glanced at me fearfully, and then relaxed and pretended that he was the ruler here, and I was his concubine.

“Do you like the throne, does it make your ass uncomfortable?” I asked, approaching the pedestal on which the throne was located.

“No, just right. As if specially made for me.” The peasant smiled an irresistible smile that would plunge women into the abyss of passion. But I ignored all his efforts.

“I really made it for you.”

“Made?” In confusion, he asked again, noting that I was talking about myself as a man.

“Exactly. Hail, you will become a god.” I flashed my eyes, went to the throne and began to bypass it, stopping behind of my future host. He was agitated, but realized that he could not get up or raise his hands from the armrests. “At least in some sense. And if you behave good, you can even enjoy your position.”

As this foreplay is over. I stood behind the man’s back, hugged him, leaned over to the his ear, erotically blew into him, and then her mouth opened, from there I crawled out in person. Sliding around the neck of the paralyzed victim, I drilled into his flesh. Goa’uld’s abilities allowed me to make a path in the human body without damaging the large vessels and nerves. Slipping past the collarbone into the chest, I climbed up along the spine and “connected” to the brain of my new host.

I was in no hurry, and therefore slowly and carefully subjugated a person, for one checking on his state of health with my snake body’s feeling. My previous host, the girl, was alive only thanks to the abilities of my symbiote. In general, this whole story with the capture of the bodies by the goa’uld was very interesting.

The point was that the goa’uld had no brain. That is, in general. Brain’s role was played by a ganglion about 1 millimeter size. When the goa’uld subjugated the host to himself, he first of all subjugated the brain to himself. The worm had its own astral body, its own personality, but in order to think and make decisions, he needed normal brains. After leaving the host, the goa’uld transforms from a genius creature into a dull worm, capable of thinking only at the level of instincts.

My previous host survived the overload of information written directly into her brain, because of which this brain began to collapse. At the same time, information about the language of the ancients started to arise. Fortunately, I was mostly a spiritual being, and therefore I could think clearly even with complete absence of brains. During this year I was able to copy quite a lot of information about the language into my mind, but in the end the brain destruction went so far that even its complete amputation would not have made it worse. Therefore, I decided to change the host. And since the inhabitants of my planet did not like my appearance, I chose to buy a new host from Ptah. I independently didn’t have any desire to wander around the worlds in search of a suitable host. Not just because the inhabitants of the Earth invented supermarkets, where you can buy most of the products of everyday use. It was much more convenient than dangle around the city in search of the right host.

Having completed the partial merger process, I opened my eyes and looked around. I did not drop my worm body, completely dissolving in the recipient's brain. I needed a way for an emergency retreat in case of any problems. And the problems were quite expected.

I just bought a database of addresses to look for information on the technology of creating the Stargate. And the only source of such knowledge could be only fragments of the civilization of the ancients. I knew exactly about the existence of two places where the library of the ancients was located, recording knowledge into the brain of suitable recipients. But one of these places was disposable, plus it was tied to the plot of the original story. Given that the gates there led into a small closed room, the chances of using this place were almost nil.
But the second place was more promising. It was a planet where, next to the gate, there was a huge statue, in the basement of which was the device of the ancients I needed. I am going to find this place.
I downloaded the database to the ancients navigation computer, and give task to analyze all the records and find a place suitable for the description. A second later, I was looking at a list of eight addresses that I needed to check. It is time for action.
I left the cabin of the ship and headed for the residential rooms - the only place on the ship where jaffa could be without my personal control.
“Jaffa, cree!” I called them, going into the common hall, where now five dozen warriors were preparing for further service. “I'm Imhotep, your god” In confirmation of these words, I flashed my eyes. Jaffa immediately jumped up, lined up and bowed to me. So that they didn’t have any doubts, I wrapped myself in darkness and levitated half a meter in the air. “Today you will have to serve me, applying all your abilities, skills, and dedication. You will go to other worlds for reconnaissance, to find among them the one that I need to realize my incomprehensible plans. Get ready. An hour later, the ha’tak will sit down next to the gate, and you will pass through them in groups of ten.
With this, I looked at my subordinates with a careful look, looking for doubters, and then turned, and flew away. My path lay in the industrial zone, where robots collected several useful devices. The first of these were video cameras that transmit the image by radio. I planned to throw them at the gate first, to check the reliability of the transition and the situation at the point of arrival.
The second device was a hyperspace beacon, which would allow me to calculate the coordinates of the planet and then fly there on the ship. Gate addresses were not always allowed to determine where exactly in the galaxy to look for them.
At the appointed time, the ship landed near the gate on my planet. Through transport rings, I and my army landed on the ground. It seems that the guests appeared here quite often. The terrain have old and very fresh traces of hits with the energy weapon of the goa’ulds. Good thing I set up the main base far away, on the other side of the planet. With a local primitive civilization, the glory of my reign will reach this place at best in a thousand years.
Unloaded in front of the gate, I broke my troops into dozens. At my command, the first ten stood near the gate, and I dialed the first address. After the opening of the passage, my video cameras flew into it first. The image from other side of gate was fed directly to my glasses, so for everyone else, my knowledge of what was happening on the other side looked like "Goa’uld magic."

When my camera passed gate, it immediately saw a dozen or so jaffa who aimed their weapons at the Stargate. Looks like someone is waiting here. But obviously not for me. The camera had the appearance of a sphere with a weighted lower part, which gave it the “roly-poly” properties. On the surface of the sphere there were several wide-angle video cameras, allowing to obtain a panoramic image.

And besides this, there were a lot of holes in the ball, from which needles covered with potent nerve poison would shoot. This poison was produced by one of the animals on my planet and even acted on the goa’uld, so that it acted on jaffa and hosts no worse than ordinary people.

At my command, the ball shot needles, and each of them hit the face of one of those present. Even the most primitive processor of the Ancients coped well with the calculation of the needle trajectory. Enemy jaffas are very well huddled near the gate, so that each of them received my greeting. After a few seconds, they began to fall to the ground, shaking in convulsions.

“The first and second teams at the gate. Suppress any resistance. Do not shoot at the enemy god.”

One of the people actually was a goa’uld. He had a personal protective field, so he did not get the needle. He had no weapons in his hands, but only glittered with eyes. I noticed another interesting thing. All the jaffas on the other side of the passage had the mark of Apophis on their forehead. So it was necessary to find out what was going on there.

My soldiers went smoothly through the gate and dispersed around the territory. A pair of the most enduring opponents tried to point their weapons at them, but received a charge of plasma on the forehead. After making sure that the situation was under control, I personally went through the gate, although I didn’t initially plan to do this.

“Well, well, well. Who is here with us? What is your name, my dear?” I turned to goa’uld.

“I'm Inpu.”

“And for whom were you trying to ambush at the gate exit?”

“You.”

“Me?” I am very surprised. “This is impossible”

“You are the servant of Apophis. Has he sent you to catch me?”

“Actually, no. But you better start telling about everything from the start. Who are you and why does Apophis hunt you?”

“I'm God! My jaffa host could see by the corner of his eye how Apophis devours his children. I was waiting for the same fate, but I captured the host and decided to escape. These jaffas followed me, accepting faith in a new god. I went through the gate several times and waited for the chase which Apophis should have sent in my wake.”

“So these are traitors?” I said while looking around the bodies lying on the ground and commanded “Kill them.”

My jaffas did not hesitate for a moment, following the order. For them, faith in their god was sacred, and traitors were only worthy of death. Previously, they served Apophis, but he personally ordered to serve a new god, and granted ha’tak. They did not know that I had tricked Apophis, and if they had known, they would have taken it only as proof of my strength. But the fugitive goa’ulds were rebellious gods in their eyes, in open rebellion against their father. Jaffas did not dare to raise their hand to the goa’uld, unless they directly ordered by their god. But this restriction did not concern me. I could kill any goa’uld except Apophis, and my actions would not be considered something shameful.

My warriors shot defenseless people and started pulling them together to cremate them.

“Inpu, you did not do the best thing, running away from our father.”  I turned to the nervous ‘brother’. “I currently don’t have the opportunity to personally track your return, so we’ll do it differently.”

I stuck the tentacle into the fugitive goa’uld’s brain and began to subdue his consciousness, for one to neutralize the effect of the worm to the brain. As a result, I got an ordinary person with a powerless worm in his head. To prevent so the goa’uld did not run away, I injected paralyzing poison into his body. It was a small dose that paralyzed only the worm, leaving the host healthy.

“Listen to my order, mortal.” I gave my instructions to the fugitive goa’uld’s host. In each person’s brain there was an area, under the influence on which he perceived the order given to him by the absolute will of God and the ultimate truth. “Now, you will go to the planet of Apophis, personally come to him and say that you returned the fugitive goa’uld by order of Imhotep, the god of knowledge and architecture. You must not allow the goa’uld to escape. If he try to escape, you must kill him at any cost. Do it.”

The zombie bearer with a wooden gait moved toward the gate and began to type in the address. When the passage opened, he also slowly walked into it and disappeared from our eyes.

“Come back.” I gave the order to my troops.

A quick inspection of the area showed that this is not the planet that I needed. There was a huge statue, but it was a completely different form. Yes, and the neighborhood looked more like a ruined city. By the way, about the destroyed city ... Another thought occurred to me to think about.

Returning back, I typed the next planet’s address. There the camera showed the usual meadow in the forest. At my command, the third group of Jaffa went through the gate, after which they picked up the video camera and walked around the gate with it. Around the gate stood rook statue and also … a very strange picture. And it was not in the rook or metal. It was not even a statue, but a bas-relief on a rock towering from the back of the gate. It depicted the typical look of an Alien. If these creatures really live there, then I should get out of there quickly.

I gave the command to jaffa, and they closed the passage, and then opened it again from that side and returned. I extremely carefully scanned all of them, and made sure that no stranger entered here with them, and mentally took a breath.

I then proceed to the next address. The third address was exactly what I was looking for. Almost immediately, I noticed a huge statue in the distance, and when jaffa raised the camera and sent it in the right direction, then all doubts were gone. Jackpot! I sent another team through the gate, along with the hyperspace beacon, after which I transmitted through the camera an order to move away from the gate a couple of hundred meters and wait for me to arrive.

After that, I teleported myself and all my subordinates to the ship, which immediately began to go into orbit. The beacon signal was localized, and after a couple of minutes I already knew the coordinates for the hyperspace jump.

The flight lasted just over an hour. Stepping out into three dimensional space, I was in orbit around the planet. The first thing that caught my eye was the many remnants of spacecraft. I identified the "spare parts" from the goa’uld’s ships, but with whom they fought it was not clear. Anyway, now this place has been abandoned. Analysis of the wreckage showed that they have been circling here for many thousands of years.

I scanned the planet, found a gate on it, and then I started descending, immediately heading to the statue I needed. In general, it was a building made in the shape of a seated human figure. Now it lost its head and right leg, as well as most of the decorative bricks looked missing. But the most interesting thing was that the statue was a relatively new building. The foundation on which it stood was the building of the ancients almost hidden under the ground.

Having finished scanning the statue with a geological scanner, I “parked” the ship at a height of a couple of tens of meters above the ground and gave the command to Jaffa to disembark. The squad that was waiting for me on the planet had to return the equipment to the ship and install a guard post near the gate.

“Jaffa, cree!” I turned to my soldiers, lined up next to the ship. “This building is a valuable object that you must protect. It must remain intact. In the event of a threat, you must protect it even at the cost of your life. In addition, since you are too stupid to understand what you are dealing with, I forbid you to approach the building closer than twenty meters. You can approach it only by my order and in my presence. Break into shifts and arrange round the clock security. Start.”

The people rushed in all directions, depicting a stormy activity, and I went to the statue. According to my recollections of the series, the device of the ancients was under the right foot of the statue. I got to this place and found inscriptions in the language of the ancients. Well, it will be an interesting job.

Having distracted for a minute, I monitored the process of installing the goa’uld’s guns on my ship. Each of the guns was scanned by my robots for defects and unpleasant surprises, after which they were installed in hidden pockets of the ha’tak’s hull. At the moment, four guns had already been installed. Still, these devices are designed specifically for battle. Even one shot from such a gun could pierce shields and blow up a reactor. A little thought, I moved the ship, placing it directly above the statue. I do not need surprises, and so to attack this place from air would be more difficult.

At first, I read all the texts. Surprisingly, there was very little useful information. Basically, the author of this scribble emphasize the greatness of the ancients, their power, wisdom, and so on. The funny thing is, he called himself as one of the ancients. So who in their right mind do such stupid statement? Usually intelligent beings think that they are modern, fashionable, and advanced, but not ancient. Although, perhaps they achieved personal immortality, and for them all other living creatures were one-day butterflies. Then yes, the self-name of the ancients was to suppress all "non-ancient", forcing them to feel their own inferiority. In general, in my sense, these ancients were ‘high level trolls’.

So summarizing all information I can say that, this place was something of a kindergarten education system. When one of the ancients reached a certain age, a knowledge base was loaded into his mind, which gave him an understanding of the foundations of mathematics, physics, and technology. And then he continue developing, studying specialized databases or exploring something of his own.

I went to the device and allowed it to scan me. The result of this was that the scan stopped and the device continued to sleep. Looks like they don’t let non-ancients in. The first thing that comes to mind is the presence of a snake in the head. I called one jaffa and ordered him to stand in front of the scanner. This time the scan did not last one second, but two. The result was still the same.

“Bring Ulric here.” I gave the order.

Egil, Ulrik and Skuli - that was the name of the three hosts I bought. I was now in the body of Egil, and Ulrik was next in the "right of inheritance." I did not communicate with the prisoners, because I did not see much sense in it. I have enough of Egil's stupid thoughts in my head to be interested in the thoughts of two other savages.

“Hi Egil. Are you here as a boss, or what?” Ulrik greeted me when he was brought to me under a guard’s surveillance.

“I'm Imhotep.” I flashed my eyes. “Egil is dead. Stand here.” I pointed out my hand.

“What for?” Asked a talkative test subject, taking the specified place.

The device of the Ancients conducted a scan, after which the emitter showed on the wall, which began to conduct a deeper scan.

“Get back there.”

“What for? Egil what the …”

I did not let the slave finish the sentence by pulling him with telekinesis and throwing him back to the rock column.

“When I order, you must execute the order, and not ask questions. And to make it better for you, I will give you a light punishment.”

I thrust tentacle into the victim and gave him five seconds of hell, transmitting pain directly to his brain.

“Take him away, but not too far.” I ordered a jaffa. “He may still have a use to me.”

I was distracted from the mortal's laments, that almost killed himself while standing next to the device, and focused on scanning the ancient’s device with symbiote's abilities.

In general, there was nothing particularly difficult for me. I was already familiar with the design of the technology of the ancients, so that I was immediately able to recognize the source of energy, the spatial crease with equipment, and the pattern of operation of the scanner. In the scanner, I found a memory module with a program code, after which with the help of a symbiote I simply copied the data into my visor. The ancients did not expect that there would be someone capable of organizing such a trick, so the data was not encrypted or somehow protected.

After downloading the whole thing to my computer, I launched the analysis and five minutes later I received an complete list of signs that the scanner paid attention to. In fact, there was only minimal genetic resemblance to the ancients, the absence of obvious defects in the structure of the brain and ... ‘voluntary will of human’ to look into the device. The goa’ulds broke on the third condition, because the host acted under duress, and jaffa on the second, because their brains were creatively reworked to increase faith in God and obedience.

I experimented a little with the scanner, and then went to the leader of the jaffa guarding Ulrik.

“Set up a camp here. Everyone except me is prohibited to approach the statue in any circumstances”

“My god, what exactly did you find here?”

The Ulrik pricked his ears and pretended that he was not interested in our conversation.

“This is the device of the ancients. If you look into it, then man will receive the power of the gods and the knowledge of the ancients. He alone will be able to destroy hundreds of enemies and thousands of spacecraft. You do not have the right to own such power, and therefore must stay away from the statue.”

“I obey! None of us would dare approach statue without your order.”

I nodded and walked away. Jaffa gave orders, and then caught up with me.

“Why did you give us such type of order?” He asked me in a whisper. “Is it because of the slave?”

“Exactly.” I confirmed. A minute ago I gave the order to ask me a question, “saying” the right words near ear of Jaffa using telekinesis. “Let him escape and give him a chance to look into the device of the Ancients.”

“Your order will be executed.”

“And do not try to go there yourself.”

“Of course, my god. You can count on us.”

I stepped aside and began to observe the plan and device. I had to wait more than three hours. Only when it was already beginning to get dark, Ulrik plucked up the courage to slip away from under not too strict guardianship and get to the statue. At first, he doubted, but when jaffa began to cry out, in search of him, he stucked his head in the mouth of the ‘dragon’.

The knowledge archive base of the ancients itself was encrypted, and I could not copy it directly. Therefore, I carefully watched how data is recorded in the Ulrik’s brain. To my surprise, only a quarter of the brain  was used for data recording. But the rest of the ‘place in the head’ was taken by the data unpacking program, which began to unpack the archive, recording the already prepared data into the necessary sections of the brain. This process was autonomous and theoretically should have been completed in about a month. That's just practically, but this was not destined to be fulfilled even by one percent.

Ulric's brain was not adapted to write such kind of data into it using the technology of the ancients. The process was clearly designed for the brain of the ancients, and not for the human. Even my first host was able to bear this procedure much better. Either she was trained in a more benign mode, or the heredity of my slave was completely nasty, so his brain began to collapse even before the process of recording data had ended.

I went to Ulrik and tried to heal him, but it was a waste of energy. His brain was decomposing right before my eyes, so it was impossible to save him.

“Take him to the ship and place him in the morgue.”  I gave the order. On the ship, among other things, I organized a refrigerator where I could store organic materials for experiments.

“It will be executed, my god.” The jaffa bowed to me. “Was it a trap?”

“No. Everything I said was true.” I smiled wickedly in response. “Just a mere mortal unable to endure such power. At best, he will not die immediately, but in a few days. Only gods can have such power.”

“Yes, my god. Your wisdom is immeasurable.”

Hmm, it looks like this jaffa is not so useless. And a year has not passed, as he learned to flatter me. I honestly don't even know the name of the commander of my warriors. At the very beginning, I ordered them to choose the one who will lead them. And in case of any problems, I promised to execute the leader first. The first four applicants all together could not live on the post of commander even a week. But as he was chosen, he has been leading other jaffa for more than a year now. All the brainless power-hungry and schemers in my arm

Chapter Text

The fatal experiment on Ulrike gave me the necessary information to develop a safety mechanism to protect my brain from destruction. Using this information my symbiote was able to upgrade my carrier’s brain to Ancient’s high standards, while leaving my mental clarity intact. Intellectual clarity  can only be checked in practice, so I had to change the brain that I used at the moment.

With the brain developing procedure prolonged, I proceeded with the next experiment after a week. Having prepared everything necessary, I went to the Ancient’s device and gave myself a scan. This time I slightly interfered in the work of the scanner with the help of the symbiote, so I was recognized as a suitable recipient for the knowledge of the Ancients. The device  attached to my head and started the data download in express mode. Five seconds later, the process was complete, and I collapsed, barely maintaining consciousness. .

Almost, because at that moment I operated on instinct alone. Taking  control over the body, while the symbiote patched my rapidly bruising brain, I stumbled to the side . There I was surrounded by transport rings that moved me to the ship’s hall with the sarcophagus. Jaffa picked up my body and placed it in the sarcophagus. Five minutes later, I was able to stabilize myself. I wasn't going to die immediately, but plan "A" clearly failed, so it was time for plan "Z".

The sarcophagus opened, my body rising from it, floating in the air. I wanted to say something like "lift my eyelids", but I don’t think they would be able to appreciate my humor. Instead, I gave the order to bring Skuli. He was my backup.

A frightened man was placed in front of me, Jaffa holding him tightly by the arms and shoulders. I opened my mouth and with telekinesis I pushed my worm body out into the gaping mouth of my new host. To further impress my true divinity onto the Jaffa that I'm not some kind of simple worm, but the true God, this process was illustrated in the "overflowing" threads of darkness from my old carrier to the new. Behind the darkness, no one noticed my real body. My cheap tricks made an indelible impression on the Jaffa, bringing their faith in me to fanatical worship.

Once I was comfortably settled in this new body, and the old one sent into the sarcophagus I continued the process of installing the archive with the knowledge of the Ancients and adjusted speed of all body processes.  However, the speed of this process was so low that the sarcophagus had time to regenerate all the damage.

My estimate is that I'll be able to study about ten percent of the archive before the information overwhelms the victim's brain, and total brain destruction becomes inevitable. But it's better than nothing.

After analyzing the first packages of information, I returned to another urgent task. My last brilliant idea was to capture one of the ascended Ancients, and to pry out of him the way of extracting Bahion from believers. I knew the Ori could do it. It was logical to assume that the ascended of our galaxy also knew about this technology, although were not in a hurry to use it.

I didn't know how to find the ascended, except in one case. In canon this was the first contact of the SG team with creatures  with energy based life forms. On one of the planets with the destroyed city there was an ascended Ancient who loved Samantha Carter and decided to copulate with her on the astral level.

I didn't know the address of this planet. There were too many addresses in the database I got that fit the vague description ;however, it was known to the SG team, so it was possible to scan the database of Stargate Team. Although they  will still have the opportunity to visit this planet, a list of addresses to calculate it is already compiled. From my vague recollections the planet had a distinct identifier whether it was 663 or 633, I had a place to start my search. All that was left was getting  in touch with the SG-1 team, extract the list from Carter's head, then go back there and find this ancient One.

The plan was not adequate enough, but I couldn't think of anything better. The fact that I remembered the last of the planet identifier was a good stroke of luck. Now, to engineer a way to meet the main members of SG-1. I don't know Earth’s address. What I do have is a database of stargate addresses to visit since I even know what kind of planet it will be, cross referencing for the stargate address shouldn’t take long.

After a thorough search  I found the right one, and instructed the ship to prepare for departure. After all the Jaffa returned to ha’tak, we ascended into orbit and set course through hyperspace to our target. We came out of the jump in the right system, but at its farthest reaches among the icy rocks of the Oort Cloud. When I scanned the system, I found no signs of another ship.

The next step was the flight to the  nearest planet, where the Stargate exists. Here we hung in orbit for a couple of days because I needed to create a compact hyperspace transmitter capable of sending a message to the ship from the surface. The finished artifact was fashioned in the form of a small bracelet.While preparing for the trip to the surface, I took the time, to install and prepare all the guns. Now, if necessary, I could contend in battle, even with Asgardians.

Tel'tak led me to the Stargate. After dialing the newly discovered address ,the first thing I did was throw the camera in. The images loaded on my console slowly revealing  an idyllic picture of the pastoral landscape. Well, enough sightseeing, time to go.

I commanded the Jaffa to return to the ship, and I walked  through the gate. I stepped out on a wide sand-covered glade bordered by a thick green forest. It was Cimmeria, a planet under the protection of the Asgard. Right in front of the gate was a tall column with a golden hammer at the top. The crystal embedded in the hammer lit up, buzzing, and began scanning me. This technology was similar to Ancient technology, so I easily protected myself from scanning with the symbiote . After several seconds the beam of light went out, and I wandered to a distant village.

While I was walking, my ship was operating according to its program. It went into hyperspace and jumped into the Cimmeria system, where it hid among the meteorites, waiting for my signal.

I walked along a well-trodden path, where I could see the footprints of men and horses. The area around was hilly, overgrown with bushes and trees. After half an hour of leisurely walking I reached the village. There I was noticed by a group under the leadership of  a middle-aged woman which proceeded to move forward to me.

“Greetings, stranger. Who are you?”

“I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture”

“My name is Gairwyn, I'm in charge here. Thor sent you?”

“No. I have heard that the God Thor is worshiped in your world, so I thought I would come and study your philosophy and beliefs. Will you tell me about Thor?”

“Undoubtedly. You came through the forbidden path?”

“Yeah.”

“Surprising. For thousands of years people have not come through it. Only Jotuns showed up here. Last year, people from Midgard came here, and now you're here.”

“It's a sign from God.” I made an irrefutable argument. "What did you do when the Jotuns came here?"”

“Nothing. Thor’s hammer protected us from them.”

“Was that the funny buzzing hammer thing? I noticed it.”

“Let's go inside.” Invited me Gairwyn.

“Certainly.” We went to the center of the village. I noticed the hanging decorations and the colorful outfits of the people.  “Are you celebrating something?”

“Yeah.” One of the men answered. “Yesterday our tribe returned from a raid with honor.”

“Raid? You kill anyone over there?”

“Ehh, only in history context. Everyone, whom we could kill, died a long time ago.”

“Really?” I was surprised. "Then what do you do in these raids?"

“We hunt for honor.” My interlocutor proudly answered, bowing out his chest. “If you rape a girl from another village, it's called dishonoring her. So we take her honor, and when we return home, during sex we bestow the abducted honor to our wives. After that, they raid to us to take the honor from us. If they can.”

“It's like ... the cycle of honor in nature.”

“Aha. So bequeathed to us the great Thor. He also said something about some gene drift, selection of positive features and a closed population, but none of us understood what he meant. But we all liked this tradition.”

“You betcha.” I chuckled. "Thor is wise, and his instructions are filled with good.”

“That's true.”

I joined the life of the village, listening to the wisdom of Thor and sharing bits of his wisdom. For example, I taught the tribe to sculpt dumplings, to make vodka, play the balalaika and swearing. A week later I was surrounded by my native Russian spirit and great Russian culture. And then the Forester came and dispersed all.

First, through the gates passed jaffa squads that’s running from the superior forces of the enemy. Apparently, they hoped that the enemies won't follow them, and they were right. All arrivals are immediately teleported by Asgard’s device. But Jaffas ran through the dungeon, got out through the broken exit and went to the gate. There they were again teleported, after which the cycle repeated. After about the fifth time, the Jaffas guessed to shoot the Asgard’s device from the maximum distance, after which they freely went through the gate.

And the next day here came a whole crowd of jaffas under the leadership of three Goa’ulds. They examined the broken Hammer of Thor, from which I had already extracted out all the valuables, walked around the neighborhood, looked at the village, and then went back, even without killing anyone.

But a week later the night sky lit up, in the lights a ha’taks became visible, leading a sneak attack between them. An hour later, the illumination stopped, and the ships went to land. At dawn, jaffa's troops descended upon the village, killing, pillaging and raping men, women, old men and children. I watched it from a safe distance, not wanting to interfere. After all, I need the SG-1 team to come here.

At noon Goa’ulds’ forces retreated, leaving the village a smoking ruin. In the forest where I was hiding, I found a group of natives, among whom were Gairwyn.

“Imhotep, what should we do?” A woman addressed me.  “You're a God! Can you help us?”

“I am the God of knowledge, war is not my specialization.” I said. “Thor is the God of war. It is better to refer to him. I can only help you a little by healing your wounds.”

I used the symbiote to cure several people wounded by Goa’ulds’ weapons.

“Thor is mad at us.” One of the soldiers expressed his expert opinion. “We should follow his precepts and give battle by destroying the enemy even at the cost of our lives. For the Motherland, for Thor, we will die to the last!”

The crowd supported the speaker with cheering shouts.

"Perhaps you should consult Kendra? In past she used to be a Jotun. Maybe she knows their weaknesses.”

“Yeah, we'll find Kendra and ask her for advice.” Decided Gairwyn. "While you hide in a secret hideout in the woods.”

The survivors split up. A large part went to hide in the woods, and a minority, including me, went to find Kendra. She was once a Goa’uld, but then she fell into the trap of Asgard and was killed while trying to get out, leaving the carrier unattended. Kendra dislikes me, but didn't show open hatred.

We got to her house only to find the destroyed forest farm. Looks like Goa’ulds had visited here before us. Kendra was dying, and before she dies, bequeathed us to dial Earth’s code on the Stargate and throw the box. I did not heal her, so as not to disrupt the plot. I got off with just saying that I'm powerless.

In half an hour our small group reached the Gate. There stood a couple of jaffas guarding the passage. In our group except me and Gairwyn, we had four battle ready guys, so we had good chances of winning. Kamikazes quickly jumped forward and with the cost of their lives, killed two careless guards. If the local Vikings had not yelled during the attack, and tried to ambush, it would’ve been possible to win without loss.

While Gairwyn is opening the Gate, I start to heal injured Vikings, but did not heal them completely. So my image looked much more heroic. Just by showing myself look haggard, and everyone believed that I had saved their lives with incredible effort.

Ten minutes later, the Gate opened again, and the Earth's robot on wheel came out. Gairwyn began to beg for help, and I stood behind her with sparkling eyes.Common sense breaking of Earthlings were provided.

The Gate opened again an hour later. One of them cautiously got command of SG-1. After looking around, they pointed their weapons at me.

“Release the hostages.” Commanded Jack O'Neill.

“What hostages?” I turned on the fool mode.

“Them”  He pointed to the Vikings lying on the ground.

“Don't you have any brains? I am healing them. If you stop me, they'll die.”

“You're threatening us with their lives?” Tilk, who had mastered the American style of negotiating of peace, asked grimly.

“Wait! He is friend!” Gairwyn interfered in our conversation immediately emerging from behind the bushes. “He saved us.”

“Gairwyn, what happened here?” Samantha Carter usually took the speech when it was necessary not to threaten, but to understand a situation.

“You came. Kendra said you will come. She had no doubt.”

“Hey, I didn't doubt it either.” I put in my word.

“What happened?” Samantha asked again.

“We think it's Ragnarok. The sky burned. The lightning in the sky was silent. Kendra knew from the beginning that they were Jotuns. And then they came to our village. There was a battle. Many people died. They burned down our settlement and many farms. Before Kendra died, she gave me your box and said if I threw it at the gate, you will come.”

“Clear. Who's that?” Said Daniel, pointing to me.

“This is Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.” Gairwyn introduced me. I flashed my eyes in confirmation.

“He is a Goa’uld.”  Teal'c said while aiming me with weapon.

“What?” Gairwyn asked confusedly.

“He's a Jotun.” Translated Daniel.

“How?” The native's mind was torn to pieces.

“Hey! I'm a good Goa’uld. I saved their lives.”

“A good Goa’uld is dead Goa’uld.” Teal'c did not agree with me.

“Just a minute.” Jack stopped the impending bloodshed. “Did I understand correctly? Your world was attacked by the "bad" Goa’ulds.” He made a hand sign for quotation marks. “And here a " good" Goa’uld is protecting you.”

“He saved our lives.” Answered one of the healed Vikings. “I had a hole in my side the size of a fist.”

“All right, Teal'c, put the gun down. I think we need to talk.”

Then took place an hour and a half negotiating, the results of which was that I have the right to continue to live. During this time, I finally resuscitated the Vikings, and it is possible that it is their arguments in the form of knives and axes allowed to solve the problem in positive ending.

“So, how much good Goa’ulds similar to you exist?” Jack asked me when we finally went to Kendra's house.

“Any. I'm one of a kind and unique. There are some Tok'ra, of course, but I would not call them good. Rather, they are slightly kindl.”

“Slightly kind? Is there such a word in language?” Our linguist was surprised.

“Yes. Anyway, I'm a lone God. I mostly study different things, collect secret knowledges and so on.”

“But you're not God?” Jack don’t let up.

“How am I not God?”

“Well ... you have this ... worm in your head.”

“So what? I have a worm in my head, and you have worms in your guts. Is it so important where a man has his worms?”

“We don't have worms in our guts.” Samantha was indignant.

“You have!” I objected. “You gained them up a couple of episodes ago.”

“A couple what?” Asked Jack.

“Oh, never mind. In general, I as God of knowledge know better. If you do not believe me, then go through a full examination for the presence of parasites and all sorts of symbionts. Judging from the metabolism of these things, you ate some slime a couple of weeks ago. Didn't they Jack?”

“Yes, there was” Agreed Jack, looking a bit nauseated.

“That's what I mean.”

A few moments we walked in silence, while the team SG-1 digested the idea that they’re are living with ideological relatives of Goa’ulds in their guts.

“But you're not God.” Jack continued his heretical sermon.

“If not me, then who? Did you meet the real God to claim that I'm not real?”

“No, but…”

"Then you don't know who the gods are."

“According to our beliefs” Daniel decided to support his comrade, “God has created the entire world, the Universe.”

“What nonsense.” I rejected this assumption. “Do you have any idea about the size of our world? Trillions of light-years of space are filled with an infinite number of galaxies. The one who created all this simply cannot focus his attention on such a trivial thing as you. If God of such level slightly look at you, then the whole galaxy will be immediately shatter to dust. Gods are different. For you, the gods are beings one step higher. You are not able to realize the greatness of those who are at least a couple of levels higher than you. For you, everything that happens there, merges into one gray incomprehensible something about which you can only guess that there is someone exists.”

“So you're one level above us?” Samantha made a logical conclusion.

“Exactly. On the one hand, I am not so far from you, but on the other, there is a gap between us.”

"I think you're just a Goa’uld who likes to tell lies." Teal'c expressed his dissenting opinion.

“One does not prevent other.”  I agreed. “I have a magic that you, mere mortals will never understand.”

“Of course it's magic. It's just technology of Goa’ulds. You have a couple of devices that you use to do magic tricks.” Daniel protested.

"I will not prove anything to primitive creatures like you. You can believe in your religion called ‘science’, but it doesn't give you an understanding of how the world works. Anyway, we have arrived.”

We stood on the edge of a small clearing where Kendra and her family had just been buried. The SG-1 had looted the post-mortem offerings and took the device of Goa’ulds owned by Kendra. It turned out that Samantha Carter has the ability to control these devices.

“Jack, can you imagine, what that means?” Daniel asked his commander.

“What?”

“We can use this technique of Goa’ulds in battle. We can send Samantha forward, and she will destroy enemies by the hundreds and thousands.”

“These children's toys are hardly capable of such.” I cooled his ardor. “It's not a weapon at all. This thing can heal people, and another is kind of a shocker. It can slightly push a man or brainwash him, but almost zero benefit in battle from such trinkets.”

“Are you... can you help us... with weapons?” Asked Jack.

“I'm the God of knowledge. I can help you invent a cure for stupidity. With the issues of getting weapons you need to contact someone else. For example, there's Thor. By the way, do you acknowledge Thor as God?

Aboriginals curiously stared at Jack waiting for an answer.

“Well... uh... er …” Jack tried to speak, but in the face of my tricky question, he could not say anything. But at least his intelligence was enough to understand that they should not so openly reject the divine origin of Thor.

“We recognize that your teaching considers Thor a God. We ourselves can not give an exact answer to this question, because we have not personally met with Thor.”  Daniel as always was able to come up with a version acceptable to the wild natives.

"Then I suggest we meet with him and find out the answer to that question. And for one, you can ask for his help in the fight against Goa’ulds.” I pointed our company to the right idea.

"If we could enter to the hall of Thor’s Power, he would help us.” Gairwen made a suggestion.

"What is hall of Thor's Power?" Daniel asked.

"Ancient legends tells of the hall where Thor left his power to help us. To protect us.”

“It could mean some kind of Asgard’s weapon.” Samantha Carter suggested.

“Or it could be a place where prayers to God will be heard." I did not fail to contribute my share of religious nonsense.

"Where is this hall of Thor’s Power?" Asked Daniel.

“I'll show you.” Replied Gairwyn.

“But we need to help your people.” I disagreed. “They're panicked and terrified. Without the light of hope, they would not have the courage to throw themselves into battle against the Jotuns and die for the name of Thor.”

“Let's split up.” Jack suggested to Daniel. “I, Teal’c and these soldiers go on reconnaissance to find out how much Goa’ulds have soldiers. You and Carter will help Gairwyn to get to this room and find out... well, find something.”

“Understood.” Each of the soldiers replied respectively.

Our squad split up. I stayed on Samantha's team, of course. The most interesting to me was her memory. After all, she was one of those scientists who were engaged in the study of the Stargate. I already did a little digging in her brain, but I needed more time, plus the victim should have been unconscious at the time.

An hour later we reached a stone in the forest with the image of a hammer. At the top of it was a glued gem of the color of blood.

“It's here.” Showed Gairwyn.

"Is this the hall of Thor's Power?  Daniel was surprised.

“Yeah. What's wrong?”

“Well, I thought it would be more like a... hall.”

“We need to activate the teleportation device.” I made my proposal, studying the artifact. This device’s function was only a teleportation, so now I saw that Asgards used a slightly different approach to teleportation than Goa’ulds.

“No one can't touch the stone.”  Warned Gairwyn.

“I can.” I shrugged. “I'm God.”

The device activated, and we were teleported into a dark room. I immediately stunned my companions, and shielded them from Asgard’s scanner, which was to activate the test. For the next two hours, I scanned Samantha Carter's brain. I was interested in not only her memory, but the memory Goa’uld who lived in her. It seems, after Goa’uld’s death part of Goa’ulds astral body are left to Samantha, after which she received access to his memory and psi-capacities.

Having found out all the interesting questions, I brought people to consciousness. The total darkness hid the fact that they were losing consciousness, and a little mental suggestion should have affected their sense of time, so they just didn't pay attention to the missing couple of hours.

Tomb robbers went ahead, got under the working scanners and activated the first task in the quest chain. The floor and walls shook. Daniel, Samantha and Gairwyn in fear pulled back and then a large part of the floor fell down. They were at the entrance on a small patch of untouched floor.

“Imhotep!” Gairwyn cried in horror, looking at the collapsing plate under my feet.

“Do not worry. I'm God.”  I replied, floating in the air. "This test is for you, not for me.”

“You ... how are you flying there?”  Samantha was astonished.

“It's simple just for someone who is God.” I continued my trolling. “Don't pay any attention to me. Better be engaged in passing the test.”

Now the whole floor fell into the abyss. A thin strip of the bridge remained hanging in the center of the room. It would be obvious to anyone here that they need to move to the other side. Samantha went off without a hitch. after her, went Gairwyn. The floor shook again, and she fell flat, barely holding back from falling down.

“Thor wants to kill me.” She screamed.

“Heresy!” I objected. “If Thor wanted to kill you, he would have done it already. I think he just likes to watch you suffer. You must Conquer! Proudly and mercilessly!” I stopped for a second. That phrase sounded familiar. It doesn't matter. “I think you will succeed.”

“I'll help.” Daniel said.

He went forward, tried to help and naturally fell off the bridge with the ballast. But he did not fall into the abyss, because the floor instantly came back, emerging from the depths of the abyss. To someone, this might even seem, that all of this was illusion.

“Well, as you see, there is nothing to afraid of.”  I concluded.

“So it was all an illusion.” Daniel confirmed my guess about his mental abilities. "You were standing on the floor all the time, mocking us.”

“You're incorrigible. Reality is right in front of your eyes, but you refuse to accept it. It's called fanatical faith, religion. But rather than believe in any heresy, like science, it is better to believe in God. Like me.”

“And what? Belief that you will help me?”

“Of course not. But it will give you clarity of thought and peace of mind.”

“Oh, come on, man”

“Haha. Believe and be saved!”

After a short speech performed by the hologram of Thor, we were teleported to the next room. There were runes on one wall, children's scribbles on the other, and four geometric shapes on the third. The assignment sounded like ‘read the runes’.

While Daniel was trying to make sense of the puzzle, Samantha came to me.

“Imhotep, do you know the answer to this puzzle?”

“I know.”

“Can you tell us the answer?”

“I can.”

“So?”

“But, aren't you interested in passing this test by yourself? You seek meeting with one God but rely on the help of another? It's adultery.”

“Don't listen to his chatter. He doesn't know the answer.” Daniel snapped, peering at the runes.

“Do you want to bet?”

The great connoisseur looked away from the child's puzzle and stared at me.

“What do you want?” Samantha asked.

“Well ... there are two options. First, if I know the answer, you'll strip naked. And two, you will invite me to your planet.”

“What? How... how you dare to suggest such a thing?

“What is wrong? Is your planet forbidden?”

“No! I do not mean that. I meant your offer for us to undress.”

“Apparently, the option to invite me to visit is not considered wrong at all?

“I... you…”

"Well, if you tell me the correct answer, I'll arrange for you a visit to the Earth. Under my responsibility.” Daniel said boldly.

“Okay. Look, and don't dare go back on your words.”

I went to the geometric shapes and drew a circle radius from the center to the edge. The sand inside the circle "soaked" into the wall in spite of all the laws of gravity, and there seemed a glass sphere with images of the hammer. I touched it, and a holographic image of Asgard appeared at the far end of the room. It was Thor himself.

“Voila. This is kindergarten level. Well, for a God, of course.”

“I'm the one whom you know as Thor.” Says hologram, surveying our motley crew.

“Oh, my God.” Daniel whispered.

“I'm here. What do you want?” I asked him, but he ignored my taunt, trying to collect the torn pattern.

“How could that be?” Gairwyn said in astonishment, considering the disgusting alien creature remarkably similar to the ‘grey aliens’ from cheap earth comics.

"Since I created this world, you are the first who are able reach this level of contact.”  Thor replied. "You have finally become so wise that you can see me."

“They're wise. I would never have gone this far without their help.”

“To be honest, I solved the puzzle.” I interrupted the conversation. “Let me introduce myself, Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.” I flashed my eyes mockingly.

“You are a Goa’uld. How could that be?” Thor mumbles in surprise, repeating the same phrase as Gairwyn minutes ago.

“It's not a recording?” The Earthlings blurted out surprised.

"The people of Midgard came to this planet and broke your protective device.” I began to state my version of events. “As a result, evil Goa’ulds take over the planet and are now actively mining your naquadah. I brought these two pests here to be punished by the name of the moon.”

“What?” Simultaneously exclaimed the pests, angrily staring at me.

“Of course, we are guilty for the destruction of the device, but we saved our friend.”  Daniel began to defend himself. “We came here to meet with you and arrange an alliance against Goa’ulds. In our team was a jaffa, who fell into your trap.”

“The jaffas serve Goa’uld.” Said Thor.

“That one's a good jaffa.” Said Gairwyn. “Just like Imhotep. Now he's fighting with us  against the Jotuns.”

"We had no choice but to destroy the hammer to free our friend.” Daniel continued.

“And you opened Cimmeria for the troops of Goa’ulds.” Projection of Captain Obvious uttered in frustration.

“Apparently so.” Daniel apologized.

“And if you have a weapon that can kill all of them, I need it right now.” Samantha expressed her idea, already mentally trying to control the ‘Planetary Ripper’ class gun.

“Weapon?” Thor was surprised.

"These savages measure everything by the destructive power of their weapons.” I explained. “Give them power, and they will destroy the galaxy. Pay attention, they asked not to save them from the invaders, but give them the opportunity to kill anyone they dislike. Typical barbaric thinking of the lower races.”

“How did you come here?” Thor turned his attention to me. “The teleportation device at the entrance shouldn't have let you go through.”

"These primitive technologies are useless against me.” I shrugged. “Actually, I wanted to talk to you. I think I have something to offer the Asgard race. For example, I can help you to solve two of your biggest problems.”

Thor waved his hand, and everyone except me teleported away.

“What do you know about our problems, Goa’uld?”

"Three words will suffice: replicators and DNA degeneration, Asgard.”

“How did you know about that?”

“I'm the God of knowledge. I know a lot of things. Including how to help you.”

There was a pause during which we played the game ‘who will reconsider whom’.

“What do you want in exchange for your help?” Finally, Thor finally gave birth to awaited words.

“I'm not ready to discuss it now. I can only help you in a few years. But I would like to have some kind of device to communicate with you. When I'm ready, I'll give the signal, and we'll agree on a time and place to meet.”

“I agree.”

The beams of the teleporter focused on me, but they couldn't get a millimeter closer.

“You know, it's not very polite to try to teleport someone without telling them.” I was angry. “Try again.”

This time I did not block the teleportation, and moved to the woods next to the stone, which began our journey through the catacombs.

“Where is Gairwyn?” Asked Daniel.

“Thor used her for experiment. Don't worry. In the end he will make her clone, which will be indistinguishable from the original. It is guaranteed.”

“What? Experiments? Clone?”  Samantha asked blankly.

“I think we should go to the secret hideout of the local farmers. I'll show the path. O'Neill and Teal'c should be there.”

I led the Earthlings by the shortest route through the swamp, carefully letting the fog in the answers to their questions.

When we got to the woodland dugout, Samantha and Daniel were smeared from head to toe in swamp mud. While I walked on the water, like Christ, they walked in the water  that went up to their chest. So, our journey took not an hour and a half, but only twenty minutes. Real depth of the swamp on the route was not up to their chest, but ten metres. I was tactfully silent, and just organized telekinetic support for the legs of humans.”

“What swamp did you get out of?” Was the first thing the mud frog travellers heard from their commander when they came in.

“Imhotep turned us in. Susanin, damned.” Daniel poured out the accumulated irritation. Susanin is Russian hero. He misled Polish soldiers to swamp and saved the royal family.

“He led you through the swamp?” One of the Vikings was surprised. “But it's not passable and very deep”

“With God's help, the impossible is possible.”  I explained modestly.

“You found something?” Jack turned the conversation to the subject. “Is this some kind of superweapon? Megabomb?”

“No, it was a test of intelligence, and they failed it.” I snitched my companions. “Instead of trying to solve the puzzle given by Thor, they asked the answer from me”

“We met the real Thor.”  Samantha provided a brief report.

“Really? Is he a cool guy? And then what happened?”

“And then ... he teleported us back without saying anything.” Carter's voice was despondent.

There was a sound of explosion, and dust fell from the walls of the dugout.

“Goa’ulds are here.” Teal'c enlightened us. “They found out the hideout and now, countless hordes of enemies are coming to kill us.

“Let me guess. Did you bring a tail? Really…” there was another explosion, have muted my words, and fell about kilogram of dust to my head. “Fuu, Tfuu, Ugh! Well, how annoying!!! My temper is filled. Give me a gun and I'll shoot them all.” I looked on Jack, whose expression of face expressed skepticism of the universal scale. “What?”

“There are much more than bullets in the gun.”

“It is not problem, I'll kill ten with one shot. You don't believe in my power? Can't believe we are protected by the power of Thor?”

“Thor's with us! For the Motherland, for Thor, we will die to the last!” The Vikings shouted and rushed to the exit.

“Ok, take this.”  Jack handed me his gun.

I took it, turned off gun’s safety mode and went to the exit, tightening the song:

“We boldly go into battle for the cause of light where how one will die in the fight for it.”

When I got out, I found a crowd of jaffas nearby, armed with shooting spears. They even bring with them a stationary blaster, shots from which were used to ‘knock the doors’. The Vikings huddled near the exit of the shelter, slowly running to the enemy. The bravest died during the battle for the village. I pushed through the crowd and came forward, and the members of SG-1 squeezed behind me.

“Aliens from the Stargate!” One of the jaffas shouted when he saw us “Drop your weapons. Surrender, and the slaves of this world will be allowed to live and serve Her'ur.”

"What is that name so perverted, Her'ur?" I shouted back. “It sounds like some kind of hentai. What an unexpected change of genre!” The answer was a puzzled silence. “I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.” I flashed my eyes, rising into the sky and enveloping in streams of darkness. "On your knees, mortals, and I will let you live."

“We only serve Her'ur.” Shouted the commander of the jaffa. “You can't intimidate us.” Despite these words, his knees were shaking so that it was visible to the naked eye.

"I haven't yet started to scare anyone. I'll start now. Behold my power.”

I stretched out my hand with the gun, took aim and fired. Parallelly I climbed with the tentacles of my symbiote to the energy source of the gun. I have a good knowledge of Goa’uld’s technology, so I knew not only how their weapons work, but how to disable it. From my intervention, impatient jaffas have their blasters explode, sweeping down the crowd of jaffa.

“Strike!” I shouted. “I am the best, and have no equal in bowling!”

The jaffa survivors tried to get to their feet, but I fired two more times, detonating their handguns. Where the source of energy was less, but the detonation I made was strong enough, so after three explosions, none of the enemies was left alive. In fact, I had to be especially careful because the total energy of naquadah in weapons would be enough to get the local nuclear armageddon.

"Learn from this.” I said to the Earthlings, who were standing with their jaws hanging open. “Knowledge is power. If you know where to shoot, these farts are much more dangerous for their owners than for enemies.”

I went down from sky to earth and handed the gun to Jack.

“Imhotep saved us! Thank the Gods! Thank Thor!!!” The natives shouted, shaking their axes.

“Go and get their weapons.” I commanded. “Against the Jotuns, we need to fight with their weapons. So you can show the superiority of your faith in the Thor over their filthy heresy.”

“Yes!!! Kill! Death to the evil Jotuns!”

People rushed forward to do the favorite thing of soldiers - looting. The few survivors they killed with swords and axes, shouting slogans, remembering Thor and Imhotep.

Jack finally came to his sense and took the gun.

"It... was..." he said, not finding the right words.

“Epic?” I suggested. “Awesome? Divine?”

“ ...surprisingly easy.” He broke off my attempts at self-praise.

“Ha! Without me, you would have raised your legs and surrendered to the mercy of the victor, after which you would have been tortured, humiliated and then tortured again to death.” Earthlings are awkwardly silent, acknowledging my point. “Okay, let's get closer to the pyramids  of Goa’ulds that they've built. Thor will show us a trick.”

We have moved in the right direction. About fifteen minutes later, the ha'tak landing pads appeared over the hill. I took a good observation spot and checked my wristband.

“It will start in a few minutes.” I notified my companions.

“What will start?” Daniel asked.

“That. Would you like to see a superweapon? If you do, you'll see them soon.”

Soon the sky darkened, its clouds turned into black clouds. There was a sound of thunder, and a huge spaceship descended from the clouds. It’s size was about three ha’tak and the form vaguely resembled a hammer.”

There was a high-pitched squeal, and the ship began to radiate rays, scouring the surroundings. It was a transmat beams from the Asgard, who gathered all the jaffas and Goa’ulds in the area. One of such ray, enlightened me too, but it couldn't do anything else to me. After a few seconds, the rays kidnapped even three pyramids, leaving no Foundation. Now I know who ruined the USSR, Asgards visited us.

When the evacuation of the invading forces ended, Gairwyn materialized next to us.

“The Jotuns are gone.” She announced. "Thor sends his thanks, Imhotep. He also gave me this.”

The woman handed me a strange device resembling a flat egg made from plastic. I took it, examined it and put it in my pocket, having previously shielded it with the symbiont's forces.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MjgyWDUwNg==/$(KGrHqRHJCoFBzbJ!CTMBQp,FL)czQ~~60_1.JPG

“Thanks.”

“Did he give us anything?” Asked Jack.

"Thor sent a message to satisfy your curiosity. He is a member of a race that visits your world to collect biological samples. They are friends to all, except the evil Goa’ulds with whom they are fighting.”

“Neat.” Jack smiled fakely. "Did he offer to give us any weapons? We could use a couple of ships like his.”

"He said that, like us, you are still very young, and it would be a mistake to trust you with a weapon. And now I have to go. We have a lot of work to do. Thor had promised to return the dead Vikings to life, by creating their clones. My people will soon return from Valhalla and will begin rebuilding the village. And he promised to restore the hammer near the gate. His power will make an exception for someone called Teal'c. You're welcome here anytime, our black friend with the big dick.” Gairwyn smiled and looked down, staring at the ground.

There was a distant rumble. We turned around and enjoyed the spectacle of the Asgard ship  disappearing in the skies. I waited until the cruiser was gone by jumping, then gave the command to my ship, that’s currently ‘cutting circles’ around the planet in hyperspace. Appearing, it immediately began to decline, approaching the place of our location.

“Well, it was nice to meet you.” I started saying goodbye when everyone else started staring at my ha’tak. “Daniel, you promised me a tour of your planet. And do not think that you will be able to refuse.”

“What?” Surprised Jack. “You promised a Goa’uld to let him on the Earth?

“Well ... that's the way things are. I think we can deal with him.” He justified.

“Goodbye. I will contact you when I decide to come to visit.”

I stepped aside and around me appeared transportation rings that transported me to the ship. Here, the first thing I did was put the Asgard device in a special safe created with the help of the symbiont's techno-forces. This storage facility shielded any kind of radiation and perturbations of space. I didn't need aliens spying on me. This device did not even have a power button, and it constantly scanned the surrounding space and was connected to another hyperspace transmitter.

Having given command to the ship to come back to my planet, I went to wash myself after three weeks of life in rural conditions. Then I came to the sarcophagus where Ulrik was languishing. His memory has already accumulated enough knowledge of the Ancients to study them that completely absorbed my attention. By the time I had absorbed all the wisdom of an extinguished civilization, we had been standing in the usual parking place for a couple of days.

Having dealt with the simple task flow, I turned to study the information extracted from the brain of Samantha Carter. She did not remember addresses of planets, but her subconscious mind had "screenshots" of what she had seen in her lifetime. By matching the addresses and description of the worlds in my database, I was able to calculate the world where the ascended Ancient lived. Mentally prepared, I overtook ha’tak closer to the Stargate and went alone to the right address.

Coming out of the portal, I looked around. Yes, this is the place. Around were the ruins of the city and a lifeless world in which not even grass grew. The gates were on the edge... well you can say the buildings that towered over the rest of the city. It would be more correct to call it a hill with man-made walls. On the opposite side of this rectangular elevation was a structure made in the style of the Ancients.

So, where is the ascended one? I decided not to disband the tentacles of the symbiont, so as not to frighten off the prey. Who knows what this spiritual entity can notice? Instead of active scanning, I turned to passive scanning, straining all my senses in search of anything unusual.

“Kitty, kitty, kitty, where are you?” I called, passing by the half-ruined columns.

“Are you looking for someone?” A voice came from behind.

I lazily turned around and saw a familiar face of Orlin. That's the name of this pepper in the movie.

“Yes, kitten. He's black and furry, with teeth like that. Have you seen him?”

“No.”

Orlen paused, staring blankly at me. I stared at him, not less blankly, trying to understand why I didn't feel anything from where he was. Maybe it's affecting my mind. So it's a glitch, and the real Orlen is somewhere else?

“Are you alone?” I asked the Ancient. “It's a bit deserted here.”

“This city was destroyed by Goa’ulds five hundred years ago. They used an Ancient device to destroy all kinds of life. I've lived here ever since.”

“Very sad.”  I nodded. “You don't even have germs in the neighborhood. Have you thought about visiting some other planet? Have fun, get a girlfriend?”

On last phrase, my symbiont grasp a weak emotional spike. Aha! This ascended in the series has the desire to have intercourse. I need to get him to show more emotion.

“I find it extremely difficult to find a girl who meets my requirements.” Orlin replied, swallowing the bait.

"There are thousands of planets in the galaxy, where billions of people live. There should be many suitable candidates. And besides, you can grow them by yourself.”

“You make it sound like people are some kind of cattle.”

“What are you talking about? I'm talking about creating the right conditions for the kind of people you like. Gather good people in one place, arrange their lives, create a school for young people, and then sit there as a student or teacher. If everything is properly organized, the girls will hang themselves on your neck.” Finally, his emotions have manifested more vividly. “In the end, it will be their personal free choice. Some believes that love should be a wild flower, one of millions. I propose to arrange a flower garden and enjoy the beautiful flowers, not relying on the chance of fate.”

I found the source of the emotion above my head and immediately darted the greedy tentacles of my symbiont. They instantly felt the purpose and swaddled him, preventing escape. The image of Orlin was gone, and in my head there was a mental scream of panic:

“What are you doing? Stop!”

“Quiet.” I replied, pulling the defenseless victim closer. “I just need to get some answers from you.”

“What are the answers? Who are you?”

"Let's just say I'm interested in some aspects of the life of the ascended.”

“You want to ascend? I'm not going to tell you anything.”

“Too bad. However, this is not necessary. I can figure it out on my own.”

The tentacles of my symbiont were able to reach the areas of Orlin’s energy body that were responsible for storing memory. First of all, I began to look for information on the organization of worship.

“No. Stop! Stop it!!!” Orlin screamed.

“Do not worry. After I figure out what I need to know, I'll let you go.”

After finding the required information, I started to download his memory of information about cults, rapture, and existence as energy beings. After going over everything important, I decided to look through the memories of Orlin before the ascension, but did not find anything interesting there. He was an Ancient. But he was born after the Plague that destroyed this civilization. He had little knowledge of Ancient technology. A large part of the earthly life he has was spent on the preparation for the ascension. Then happened an event, memories of which have been removed. And the result of this event was a reference to this planet. The hypnotic program required him to be here, and he could not overcome it on his own. In general, boredom.

Pulling out of the consciousness of this being is all interesting, I said to him telepathically to him:

“That's all you were afraid of. Even the skirt wasn't wrinkled.”

Pushing Orlin to the side, I commanded the symbiote to let him go. But the result was a complete surprise to me. The symbiont voluntarily dug tentacles into the tender body of light, tore him to pieces, and then grabbed and took him to the ‘cave’ in my soul, where he was hiding when I did not need him. Orlin only had time to cry out in short agony, after which he did not left even a scratch.

What was that? I stood dumbfounded in the middle of the square, trying to understand what had happened. For a few seconds, the symbiont was completely out of my control. That is all the mental control, filling with Will and the rest were complete nonsense. If that thing wants to do something to me, I can't resist it. Cold sweat drenched on my back.

This is not a symbiont. It's a parasite. He just ate the soul of an ascended man. It did what I thought was, if not impossible, at least unlikely. In that brief moment, I felt that the parasite’s abilities were far stronger than anything I could do. All this required careful thought.

The parasite slipped out of his hiding place, spreading a feeling of satiety and gratitude for the delicious dinner. I habitually seized control of his tentacles, lifting up a stone and throwing it away. Everything was as it always was ... except for the fact that I didn't trust the parasite anymore.

After another look around, I headed for the gate. I needed to get back to the ship and analyze my relationship with the parasite.

After about a week I was able to come to a very disappointing conclusions: I was fucked!!! The symbiont, as I suspected, was a parasite. It usually hook into the souls of powerful mages, and serve them, allowing them to use its abilities. Simultaneously, it blocked the abilities for magic that I have managed to verify by myself. Parasitic by devouring the souls of mages. It was spiritually developed beings that interested him most. Common people to for him taste like the husk of the seeds.

Some time later, if the parasite has decided that the host doesn't need him anymore, and then devoured him and will be hooked to the next. "Settlement" was due to the creation of a special dimensional pocket, getting rid of which was almost impossible. It tightly welded in the structure of my soul, and to remove I need Bahion, a lot of Bahion.

My parasite had order to serve me for a thousand years. So I was safe in the near future. But this did not solve the problem cardinally. It was not going to leave me, and at the end of the allotted time it planned to eat me and did not see anything wrong with it.

The most funny thing is, parasite openly told me all this, when I asked it. When its ancestor served me in the world of the Worm, it had a order that forbade the disclosure of such information. This same copy had only one order - ‘to serve me for a thousand years’. At the same time, it had the clock for the countdown of this period its own, so that for the service it also counted on the time when I was hanging unconscious between incarnations. So by the way, I learned that between Worm world and the subsequent birth in the body of Goa’uld, a month has passed.

Also, I found out that, theoretically, the parasite can cure my defective tails. But for this it needs to sink its tentacles into my soul, and how it would end I don’t know. While poking around in its memories I saw how the parasite carefully tasted Orlin before it ate him. And I wasn't sure that if it could taste me, it would be able to resist the temptation. After all, it was just a brainless animal.

 

Chapter Text

 

At the moment, I couldn't do anything to the parasite, so I focused on what I could change. Extraction of bahion from the faithful was not so difficult. Well, that's if you know what to do. For a start, I need to get a tiny drop of bahion, and then use it to form a special channel of this energy between me and the believer. As a result, I was able to get all bahion which he produced.

However, there was one difficulty that demons faced in the world of spiders. One person could only have a limited number of such initiated followers. Very limited. It was literally as limited as the finger count on one hand. But these followers could become collectors of bahion coming from other believers. That initiation made a person into a priest, and then he organized various religious events on my behalf and initiated his followers, who believed in him as my representative, and therefore part of the energy travelled through him went to me.

In summary, it was a typical network marketing structure and pyramid of influence. As a whole, it was already possible to start using it, but I was not satisfied with the small efficiency of this design. I do not know rules of formation 'spells' from Bahion so I had to optimize the initiation ritual for the priests with ‘fingering’ scientific method, aka trial and error.

For the start, I initiated three priests who had already played a leading role in the cult of my name. My followers were the inhabitants of only one village, that is, a couple of thousand people, but this should have been enough to start with. Then I changed the spell a little bit, watched how these changes affect the result, and most importantly - counted them on the computer of the ancients installed on the ship. I quickly was able to create a reliable simulation, thanks to which I was able to achieve an energy transfer efficiency of 99%. Then there was a similar calculation of the effectiveness of the spell, transferring the energy of a simple believer to the priest.

As a result, I got the perfect technology to create religious cults. It would be possible to further develop the technology of using Bahion, but I thought it is a terrible waste. Magic could do far more, and better, without requiring constant recharging from the faithful.

After the cult began to bring me a profit in the form of Bahion, I began to use accumulated Bahion to initiate one of the embryo tail. Well at least the parasite did not react to Bahion. Also, it did not notice the chakra. So first, I decided to rebuild the chakra tail, generating the energy of shinobi world.

The flow of Bahion was like drops flowing down the stalactite. To increase its production, it was necessary to expand the flock, or... to bring people into a state of religious ecstasy. As it turned out, the state of happiness and awareness of who they owe this happiness, repeatedly increased the production of faith energy.

Of course, human is a tenacious beast , they can adapt to everything when enough time passed. Including something good. So I made a plan to gradually improve the standard of living in the village and among my jaffas. Every day I healed patients, invented household appliances, helped to build houses. Almost every second day was a holiday, and every holiday was something different from all the others. People's lives turned into a fairy tale, which was not difficult because I had a parasite and access to some Ancient technologies.

I became God to the people, and they answered me with sincere faith, worship and praise. They didn't have to flatter me because they had enough of my real achievement that they could sing them in songs and describe them in stories. People were constantly in some kind of trance, thinking about me every second of their life, devoting me in every action, not thinking more of their life without me.

It is in some degree scares me. Such an obsession could not last too long. And so it didn't take long. Just three months later of this celebration of life I've gained enough Bahion to initiate the transfer of structures from one tail to another. Inherited tail from Kyubi, had a somewhat different structure because it was created not by me, but by demon from another world, so the essence of the process is almost not affected.

In just a week I regained control over the source of chakra, and another week was devoted to training in its use. After that, I decided to test a loophole that I thought of.

I sat alone in the Tel'tak and flew to the center of the desert, where there was not a single person. There I landed the ship and moved away from it for a couple of kilometers. After that I sat down in meditation, watching the setting sun. Three hours later, when the surroundings was already late at night, I activated a long prepared fuinjutsu.

During last year, when I was sitting in meditation, the parasite preferred to spend time in its 'shell'. This time was no exception. The fuinjutsu seal placed by me blocked the entrance to the parasite's personal space, closing it with no way to escape.

Literally within seconds, the parasite tried to get out, but after poking the barrier and feeling it, then… it calmed down, silenced. I took a breath and went back to my ha’tak. This seal did not give a full guarantee, but now I was at least partially sure that the parasite would not begin to eat someone against my will.

Now, when a malicious creature has been isolated, I can begin to restore my abilities to magic. To my surprise, after restoring the tail, remained more than 80% of the unused Bahion. Therefore, immediately after returning to the ship, I was able to initiate recovery of the second tail.

I spent the next week as if I’m on pins and needles, the process placing me in the world of pain that comes from the depth of my soul. Finally, the process of energy transfer was completed, and I gained the ability to magic. Hurray!!! I become a magician again, and symbionts is not necessary anymore. Of course, this thing has ability to do a lot that I could not do with the tails, but the combination of magic and chakra gave enough opportunities to be able to solve any problem in a reasonable time.

After playing with magic, I undertook a detailed study of the heritage of the Ancients. Before that, I mostly just copied the information into my brain, and now it's time to carefully study it and improve them on the basis of magic and chakra. And, not combining them, but sole expense of magic, or chakras. This should give me more room to maneuver in the future.

In addition to the scientific knowledge of the Ancients, derived from the brain of Ulrike, I studied the technology of the ascended, derived from the consciousness of Orlin. I was interested in the possibility of existence in the form of pure energy, not burdened by the presence of a physical body. At the same time, if necessary, the body can be created again.

In general, the idea of ascension was a very interesting topic for research, that's just one thing. I was aware of the ascension procedure, which required the presence of an Ancient body. People were degraded descendants of the Ancients, so their bodies were more or less suitable for this, although they required much more effort.

Goa’ulds, oddly enough, also had a predisposition to ascension, although somewhat in different kind. Without a brain of their own, the worm-bound souls were able to become partially aware of their energy nature. And such an experience in itself could greatly simplify the understanding of the technique of ascension. When Goa’uld has possessed the body of a person with active genes of the Ancients, ascension was within reach of hand. If you know where and how to reach it. Exact knowledge in all spiritual science was a key to all.

I could turn myself into a Vritras right now, and get rid of the need to lead the life of a parasitic worm, but it would close the door to ascension for me, because the technique of creating Vritras formed new spiritual shells and changed the existing ones. And I needed to have some 'standard' that could be transformed by following the instructions. After then, I will have a working prototype of my Goa’uld’s body, I will have to think about how to cross the ascension with magic in Vritras body. So now I've decided to focus on the science of Ascension.

The last four months I was engaged not only in gathering of Bahion. Having thought about my conversation with Orlin, I came to the conclusion that I was right, and I should attend to the presence of a harem. And because the local population in this capacity is not satisfied me, then I had to go out to different planets and to seduce five girls with the appropriate parameters.

While I was doing all sorts of meditations, I noticed that my body from such an altitude loses its shape. So I gave Skuli, my current host, a personal time during which he could control my body. His classes were simple, but attractive enough for a mortal like him: training, lunch, sex. We even organized a 'division of labor' - he fucked some slaves, and when the body was controlled by me, then I amused myself with others. In general, I was satisfied with such controlled schizophrenia.

Among other things, I planned to gain even more confidence in the team of SG-1, and therefore decided to appear during the episode with Tok'ra. I had already gained the address of their gate from Samantha Carter's mind, so I placed a 'trap signal for SG-1' on that planet near the gate. In fact, it was a biological scanner of the Ancients, combined with a hyperspace transmitter. It scanned everyone coming out of the gate, and sent a message if they came out with three people without worms in the head and one jaffa in one of their belly. And so, right now I got a message that needed the characters appear on the planet Tok’ra.

Quickly gathering, I boarded my bomber al’kesh, which took me to the gate on my planet. There I opened a portal to the right address and sent the chakra clone out to exploration. Oddly enough, the gates would normally transmit the constructs of chakra, but would oddly deform magic spells.

Shadow clone came out, looked around and put an illusion to the terrain, hiding my appearance. After that, I went through the gate and disappeared into the desert. Searching Tok’ra’s hideout did not cause any problems. They were within walking distance of the gate, so the scanning spells quickly detected living creatures hiding in the dungeons. Among them, I quickly localized four members of SG-1. After waiting until they were locked in a separate room, I went on a mission to release them.

It was a time when the members of SG-1 visited a Goa’uld named Selmak and his dying host, and now pondered their plight, waiting for the decision of the council of Tok’ra about the offer of alliance.

By regaining my magic, I was able to open portals between two points of space. I didn't have enough energy to jump across the galaxy, but it was possible to move between neighboring stars or on the same planet. Now I opened a portal leading from the desert to the corridor adjacent to the room where the SG-1 team was located. Once in the dungeon, I walked lightly to the right place, pushed the guards out of the way and went into the room.

“Hi” I said hello as if we met just yesterday. "How do you like Tok'ra? They're not very kind, really. They want to stick their snake up your ass. Oh, I mean in the head.”

“Imhotep?” The earthlings shouted in surprise.

“Who are you!?” The guards were alarmed, trying to aim their weapon at me. I did not give them such opportunity, forcing the firing head of the spear to be attracted to the ceiling by magic.

“I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.” I flashed my eyes.

“How did you get here?” The question came from Samantha Carter, but I could see in their eyes that the question they’re most interested in was Tok'ra.

"I learned that you were being held captive by Tok'ra, and I decided to save you.”

“And how did you know that?” Daniel didn't fail to ask, always suspecting me of something.

“Do you have any guesses??”

“You're a God of knowledge, and therefore know everything?” Jack tried.

“Exactly!”

“What nonsense! You're in cahoots with Tok'ra.” Daniel protested.

“I don't think so” Samantha took my side. “They were too surprised to see him.”

“So, if I'm not mistaken, they made an offer to settle the Goa’uld in your head, but that prospect is not happy to you.”

“Did we need to be happy?” Jack asked.

“I don't think so. But if you think about it, this prospect could please someone else.”  I looked around at the quiet audience. Space scanning spell showed that around the corner in the hallway stands Garshaw, attentively listening to our conversation. This witch was one of the main snakes in this lair. “Samantha, do you know that your father is literally one foot in the grave?"

“What? Where are you from...?” She was alarmed.

“Heh. That's a question you've already asked. The truth is, if you put a snake in Jacob's head, it could cure him of cancer. As a result, everyone will benefit.”

“What do you get from that?” The silent Teal’c gazes at me suspiciously, trying to drill a hole into me.

“Daniel's promised tour of the Earth.”

In the room was silent again for a moment, and Garshaw chose this time to effectively appear in the company of her fans.

"I'm flattered that you care about Selmak, but who the hell are you?"

“Haven't you been reported yet? I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.”

“I've heard that before. But that doesn't answer the question of where you came from and what you need?”

“It would be rather silly if the answer to a question of who I am, to be the answer to these two questions. Don't you think so?” I looked at the members of SG-1, looking for support in my dispute.

“Enough of these games!” Garshaw shouted, feeling enraged. "Are you a spy for the System Lords?"

“How could you possibly think of such a stupid thing?” I scolded her severely. “To spy for these narrow-minded and narcissistic lords? If I'm spying, it's only for me. And I am here to prevent the murder of my friends.”

“What? I would never…” Garshaw started to make excuses.

“You're not.” I interrupted. "But there are other forces pulling the strings. And now that I'm here, you'll do as I say. Anyone who disagrees, I will personally extract them from the host and will eat it in front of you.”

Tok'ra's face was twisted with fear and anger. Many of them escaped the fate of being eaten by the System Lords, because they raised them for that.

“So what? Will we negotiate in a good way? Or should I just start mass executions?”

Considering that any Tok'ra could not even point a weapon at me, my threats were particularly impressive.

"We do not cooperate with the System Lords.” Garshaw found the strength to resist.

“Good, I'm not one of them. Otherwise, I would have already ripped you from your host's skull.” I went to headstrong Goa’uld and glared, while saying. “Listen to my instructions. Earthlings, as a gesture of goodwill, will provide you with a new carrier for Selmak. In return, you will provide them with a database of the planets occupied by the System Lords. Questions? Objections? Suicide attempts to attack me? What, none of this is gonna happen?”

Garshaw tried to say something, but the spell of silence did not give her chance to do so.

“Perfect. Silence is a sign of agreement. And don't try to deceive me. It could end badly for you. Better start working on an address database.” I turned to the Earthlings and made an inviting gesture. “Come on, I'll lead you to the gate. We'll talk back on Earth.”

They looked at each other, and silently followed me. The sight of the Tok'ras trying to point a weapon at me and unable to keep it under control impressed even SG-1. We went to the warehouse, where I returned the confiscated weapons to them. After that, I led them to the hall with the transport rings, where we moved to the surface. Tok’ra kept trying to somehow to stop me, but then he just twisted a little away.

“How... how did you do that?” Daniel asked me as we walked to the gate.

“It's magic, Daniel. I've told you a hundred times.”

“But…” He was not satisfied with the return argument.

"Is this all about spells and ritual chants and sacrificing people?" Asked Jack.

“Well... Almost. While the sacrifice of the humans are not effective. Elves in this respect are far better. And the demons are generally too great to be compared.”

"I see." The colonel nodded. “Why do you want to arrive to Earth?”

"I want to meet General Hammond, go to Disney Land, buy myself a computer and a dozen toys. Lots to do.” I replied, counting my fingers. This time my answer tore Jack's common sense. He couldn't think that I had such interests.

“You know so much about us. Have you been on Earth before?” Samantha asked a provocative question.

“Sometimes not knowing the answer to a question is better than knowing it. In many knowledge there are many sorrows.”

"And I have dedicated my heart to know wisdom, to know madness and folly. And I know that all this is also a longing of the spirit. Because in much wisdom there is much sorrow, and who multiplies knowledge multiplies sorrow. The Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes, the words of king Solomon.” Quoted Daniel.

“He was a wonderful man. Only finished badly.” I nodded in  comprehension.

“Solomon?”

“Yep.”

All those present were silent, imagining that I personally knew Solomon. That's how the trusting flock is bred to deification himself. In silence we reached the gate, where I dialed the address of the Earth. Members of SG-1 watched my actions with suspicion. Finally, Jack sighed, dialed the code on the communication device, and a minute later we went to the portal.

On Earth we were met by ready-to-fight machine gunners and cheerful siren sound, screwing right into the brain. The siren was even more vile than in the series. Or is it a weapon against Goa’ulds?

“Colonel, who's with you?” General Hammond appealed to us from the aquarium, which was the control center of the gates.

“He is... Imhotep. Remember, we told you about him.”

“What's he doing here?”

“They promised to show me Disney Land.” I blatantly lied “And you have a unique chance to get a postcard with my autograph and in addition a list of the addresses of all the planets controlled by Goa’ulds.”

This time the General asked nothing, as he was busy questioning his common sense.

“General, I think we should discuss the current situation in the conference room.” Colonel O'neill reported.

“... good idea, I'll meet you there in fifteen minutes. And does anyone have an empty postcard?”

The last question, apparently, was intended for all present. I didn't know the answer to it because our group was sent to obligatory medical examination. I did not pass it, agreeing only to the electronic thermometer for temperature measurement.

“How did you get rid of the worms last time?” I asked.

“Yeah.” Jack agreed. “We had diarrhea for two weeks without stopping. Those damn worms almost ate me.”

“How did you diagnose them?” Dr. Fraser asked. “We had to do a high-resolution nuclear tomography to detect these parasites.”

“I'm the God of knowledge. Knowing such simple things is as natural to me as breathing.”

“Wow, another human imagining himself as god.” Janet Fraser took the thermometer from me and looked at the reading on the board. “Exactly one hundred degrees?” She was surprised.

“Just looking at you makes my blood boil.” I laughed. Using magic to heat the thermometer to the desired temperature was a trifling matter.

“Perhaps you should cool off.” She didn't take my joke.

“Whatever you say, doctor. Your thermometer can measure the temperature of absolute zero?”

“I don't think so. I suppose, is there any point in further medical examination of you?

“I'd show you something interesting, but I'm afraid we won't have enough time for you to make all the necessary measurements.” This time the woman was a little embarrassed. My rough soldier's sense of humor has shaken her calmness.

I stepped aside and joined the SG-1 team, which had just passed their medical examination.

“Imhotep, come. General Hammond is ready to receive us.” Jack called me.

I nodded and followed the attendants into the conference room, where the most important issues related to the Stargate program were discussed. A great place to install listening bugs based on magic and chakra. We passed the door, took our seats, and a minute later General George Hammond entered the room at a brisk pace.

“Welcome” He said as he looks at me, while sitting at the head of the table. "So, Colonel O'Neill, I'm listening to your mission report.”

“Yes, sir. We passed through the Gate and encounter the rebel forces of Goa’ulds. They surrounded us and took us as a prisoner. Then we were moved to an underground dungeon. There we presented our offer of alliance, but in response they offered to place one of Goa’ulds in our head. We, of course, refused, and we were left in a separate room under protection, they promised to discuss our proposal at the council. After that, Imhotep unexpectedly came into the room, which somehow neutralized the security guards and invited us and the Goa’ulds to conclude a contract with each other. We will provide them with one host, and they will give us a gate address of the worlds controlled by Goa’ulds. Imhotep suggested that the host should be Jacob Carter, Samantha's father. Goa’ulds silently accepted these conditions, Imhotep helped us to pick up our belongings and we left the dungeon. This is the general report.”

The General looked at me thoughtfully.

“What makes you think he's not one of them?”

“Hey! I'm on my own.” I was indignant. “And don't talk about me in the third person POV. I saved the lives of the SG-1 team. And you accuse me of collusion with these filthy Goa’ulds?”

“Hey, you're Goa’uld too!” Daniel protested, breaking every chain of command.

“I'm a good, kind, and huggable Goa’uld. Don't compare me to the stupid System Lords and the cowardly Tok'ra.”

“Tok’ra?” Asked Hammond.

“That’s what those Goa’ulds call themselves, in the lair of imprisonment of which you were fit into.”

“Why did you decide to intervene in this situation?” He continued the interrogation, deciding to switch to me.

“We're friends. Besides, Daniel promised me a tour on the Earth. And if he died, I'd lose the chance to visit Disney Land.”

“How did you get to the planet?”

“Like everyone else, through the Stargate. I'm a God of knowledge, so when I learned that my friends were in danger, I went to Tok'ra’s planet  and intervened in the situation.”

“So you're God?”

“Of course.”

“And you know everything?”

“Not all. But a lot of things.”

“What number am I thinking of?”

“Forty-two.” Using a mind-reading spell was a matter of seconds. Especially since it was about reading the upper layers of consciousness.

“And now?”

“One hundred forty-three million two hundred seventeen thousand nine hundred ninety-nine."

“How do you do that?”

“I'm God.”

“Nicely…”  The General thought for a moment. “Why are you offering to make Jacob Carter as a carrier?”

“He's dying anyway. So you not only you fulfill the wishes of Tok'ra, but also save his life. Goa’uld can support human life and heal from various diseases.”

“You consider yourself as Goa’uld?” That was a trick question. However, this conclusion could easily be reached by analyzing my speech.

“I consider myself as God.” I answered. “I'm also a magician. Look, magic.” I said the last word in a 'mysterious' whispering voice.

I used the simplest spell, and a shimmering ball of light appeared above my hand.

“You're not a magician, you're a Troll.” Again Daniel could not resist but to retord.

“Shit! I got caught.”  I acted alarmed in fun.

“So you've been lying to us all this time?” Jack asked incredulously.

“I am mage-troll of eighties level. I never lie. I prefer to tell the truth, but in a such way that people deceive themselves.”

“Can you help us in the fight against Goa’ulds?” Hammond continued.

“I am God of knowledge. If I were ‘God of fight against Goa’ulds’, then I would have helped you. So, no, I can't. But I can help you from time to time in matters related to Ancient technology. Or if you have a crisis and the whole Earth is in danger, you can call me. Here, look…”

I reached forward and, with a magician's gesture, drew from the seal of fuinjutsu an object resembling a children's radio station.

http://intertoys.com.ua/images/800_1024/%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%86%D0%B8%D1%8F%20205048img.jpg

“This is a special magic artifact for conversing with me. You will need to take it in your hand, press this ledge, and then begin to call me for help, begging for salvation and crying out for my mercy. And then I will definitely come. Take it.”

I handed the device to Hammond. He took the radio and weighed it in his hand.

“Heavy. What is it made of?”

“Clean naquadah! And these stars and call button are made of an alloy of gold and platinum. Works on magic power, does not need recharging.”

“What kind of magic is that?.. Sorry.” The phone rang on the table next to the General. “General Hammond. Connect. Jacob, how are you? We're coming.” After a few more seconds, he hung up.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“I'm dying.” The General replied in confusion.

“Brevity is the sister of talent.” I admired. "You should visit him and offer to stick a snake in his head. In the meantime, Daniel and I will take a walk around the town. I think we can do it in a couple of hours.”

“I can't let you out of here.” Said Hammond. “This is high secure facility. You're an alien from another planet.”

“Don't make me do this the bad way. You might not like it very much.” I frowned.

There was an unpleasant pause in the conversation.

“General, I think we should let him go.” Jack said. “Under my responsibility. I will personally accompany him and make sure that there are no problems.”

Hmm... I stared in surprise to the commander of SG-1. Honestly, I did not expect such a reaction from him.

“All right, Colonel. I will give my orders. Samantha, will you come with me to your father and try to convince him to become the host of Goa’uld as it’s a much better prospect than to die of cancer. Although I confess, I am not sure which option is better.”

"Well, these Tok'ras aren't bad slave owners at all. Sometimes they even allow their hosts to act on their own. Here, for example, I'm too lazy to engage in physical training to maintain my ideal physical shape.” I showed the audience my bicep. “So I trust this thing to the host, for whom such activities only they enjoy. You could even call it a symbiosis, because without me he would have dragged a miserable existence in one of the wild worlds. However, time does not wait. We can talk about this after you get Jacob to base. Let’s go. Disney Land is waiting for me!”

Accompanied by Jack and Daniel, I got out of the base and drove to the city of Colorado Springs, the center of which we reached in fifteen minutes. There I was taken to the store with Disney toys. This, of course, was not Disney Land, but I did not focus on this. Instead, five minutes later I decided to go to a computer store, where I bought the full capacity of Jack O'Neill’s credit card.

The next point of our trip was the electrical shop, where I bought a voltage tester, transformer, battery and so on.

“Why do you need all this equipment?” Jack surprised, once again paying for my purchases.

“You would not believe how difficult it is to connect the computer to the power from the ZPM.”

“ZPM? What's it?”

“Zero Point Module. This Ancient technology is still unknown to you. Think of it as a big battery that could blow a planet to pieces in the event of a short circuit.”

“Clearly... how many of these do you have?”

“Like shit in waste house. Okay, well, we're done with the iron shopping. I bought fifty toys. CDs with music for another hundred. Now it remains only to collect a bundle of comics, and I would finally fulfill my life goals!”

All purchases are immediately sealed to fuinjutsu seal so I can carry it with ease. However, I did it inside the Jeep, to not create a stir among the ordinary townspeople. I was in my usual Goa’uld clothes and people are staring at my not-quite-standard clothes.

We returned to the Stargate base just two hours later. Hammond and Carter’s family were already there. I ran into Jacob in the hallway outside of the gate hall.

“So, are you ready to make the most exciting one-way trip in your life?” I turned to Jacob.

“Why one way? They promised that I could be cured.”

“But you're not going back to Earth. Except as a guest.”

“What are you talking about? Nobody explained anything to me.”

“Then I suggest you to sit down. For such news are not for long.”

“Okay.” We sat down on some boxes. Samantha ran past us, eyes bulging, not even paying attention to me. “By the way, will you introduce yourself?”

“Oh, sorry. I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.”

“The Imhotep who built the pyramid of Djoser?"

“We can discuss this story next time. Now we are talking about you.”

“There you are!” Samantha found us. “Dad, are you ready to go?”

"I'm just telling him what he is going to have to face.”

“Imhotep…” The favourite daughter of my interlocutor could not find the words in response.

“Samantha, let him talk.” Jacob stopped her objections.

“So. You have cancer in the terminal stage. Earth medicine here is powerless, but it is possible to cure you, by giving your head a giant worm that enslaves the mind.”

“Is this some kind of joke?”

“This is not a joke. I have one in my head. Or I could say I'm the one who's sitting in the head of this dumbass and lustful savage.”

“This ... is somewhat discouraging.” Jacob muttered. “What's the benefit to me??”

“You will stay alive, and sometimes the worm will let you walk. I mean, he'll still be in your head, but you'll be in control of the body. Plus, you will be able to communicate with him, penetrate into the secret plans of these worms and make sure that they do not threaten the Earth.”

“What are the secret plans?”

“These worms are the representatives of civilized Goa’ulds that call themselves Tok’ra. They are rebels and renegades who fight against the true lords of this galaxy - the System Lords. They are parasitic worms too, but regard their hosts as property, and all other people as slaves. In general, I think the Tok’ra will present the politically correct version to you. My task is to explain to you the pros and cons of the new state.”

“What's it like to have a worm in your head?”

“Really? I don’t know. I'm on the other side of the coin. I can say that being a worm in someone else's head is pretty funny. You can ask your daughter about her feelings. Let her share experience.”

“She has a worm in her head?”

“Now for the most part I would answer in the negative. But it was occupied before. All right, you two share your experience of keeping worms in your heads, and I'll go say goodbye to the General.”

I got up and went to the 'aquarium', where Hammond had just leaked through another entrance, accompanied by three other team members. As soon as I entered, I noticed that Teal'c, who was explaining something to Jack, gave me a suspicious look and stopped. I looked through my memories and saw that I had only heard one phrase from him today. This jaffa is concealing something.

“Imhotep, you promised to sign the card.” Hammond spoke to me before I could open my mouth.

He handed me a postcard with views of Los Angeles. I examined it, took the outstretched pen and sat down at a small folding table, wondering what to write.

Imhotep, the God of Knowledge and Architecture, the King of Kings, Good Goa’uld, the Killer of Worlds, the Mage-Troll-eighties level, the Lord of All Russia, the Progenitor of the Nerubians, an Evil Cheater '. I wrote it in a neat handwriting. I think nothing is forgotten. ' For General George Hammond and his two charming granddaughters. '

After that, I concentrated and put a simple spell on the card. All ready.

“Take it.” I handed the postcard to the addressee. “Talking postcard.”

“In terms of?” The General was surprised, reading my writings.

“Say my name.”

“Imhotep.”

“Bow down before me, worms! BWA-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!” Postcard talked.

“What? Imhotep.” Hammond repeated.

“Believe in me and you will be saved. BWA-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!”

“Okay, you can play with it later.” I smiled. All the people in the area crowded around the General, considering my gift.

“Imhotep.” Teal'c said.

I immediately intervened a little in the work of the spell, adjusting it so that using the voice of Teal'c would always work only on one specific phrase out of a hundred laid in it.

"Reject the false gods and bow to the true God! Bow before me!! BWA-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!”

I could see the stunned face of the jaffa and then urged all those present.

“Don't delay. It's time for Jacob to go to the other world. If he’s late then he will have to go to a completely different world, and then you will not see the alliance with Tok'ra in the near future.”

Everyone was rushing back to their business, and Hammond carefully put the card in the folder and ran to hide it in the safe.

Ten minutes later, we finally opened the gate and went to the right planet. There we were met by the bustling Tok'ra preparing to evacuate. Almost unnoticed, we passed to the transport rings, came down to underground floor and collided with Garshaw.

“What's happening?” Jack asked her. They have already tortured me with this question, because in response I was only smiling mysteriously.

"System Lords' ships are flying here. Did you give them our location?” She snapped at me.

“I do not need that. You'd better watch your spies. I can tell you who betrayed you, of course, but that knowledge will cost you dearly.”

“I have an idea.” Said Jack.

“What? Say.” Garshaw was on edge. How could she not have bitten anyone.

“I saw Cardash playing with his balls and his baton. Well, you know... 'these' balls.”

“What?” Garshaw’s facial expression expressed full dumbness.

“He is referring to the telecommunication device of Goa’ulds.” Teal’c translated the speech of his commander.

“Yeah, a ball in size of a fist.”

The Tok’ra leader's face contorted with anger.

“Tok'ra, kree! Cardash, krja!”  She screamed and rushed off down the corridor, accompanied by five guards.

“Stay here.” Jack gave the command and run off after her.

“Yeah, sure.”  Daniel answered in dissatisfaction towards the now empty space.

“We are going to see Salmak.”  I put in my offer. “Jacob, Samantha?”

The three of us headed through the winding corridors of the base and soon came to a hall where the host of a Goa’uld lay on a table - ancient old woman of two hundred years old. Then there was a half-hour sentimental conversation, the results of which Jacob agreed to become a host. He laid next to the old woman face to face, after which the worm quickly moved from one cozy mouth cave to another. The previous host immediately stopped breathing, and Jacob fell into unconsciousness while the worm subdue his brain.

After a couple of minutes of silence in the room, came a tok’ra.

“Our perimeter security was broken by Goa’ulds ships. They’re attacking from the air and through the gate. Garshaw ordered that we must destroy the complex. You must evacuate immediately.”

“We need time.” Said Samantha. “Can we reschedule it?” She pointed to her father.

“No, procedure is very dangerous, it'll kill him.” Objected Martouf, one of the leaders of tok’ra.

“I can speed up the merging process. After all, I am God. For me it's a piece of cake.”  I suggested. Because of my shopping on Earth, the sequence of events had shifted somewhat, so I had to correct it.

“Are you going to use some kind of Goa’uld device?”  Martouf was alarmed.

“Of course not. I told you, I'm God. I use divine magic. Watch and admire my immense power.”

I reached a hand out in front of me, formed a healing spell, and pointed it to the old woman and man. The old woman was already in a state of clinical death, but for the magic of spiders it was not a significant obstacle. Glowing lines of optical illusion surrounded the spell's targets. For the sake of the audience and to make the process of healing more 'divine'.

In that moment, Garshaw and the other members of SG-1 rushed into this room. They stared in awe at the illusion that concealed the not-so-appetizing healing process.

“What's going on here?” Asked Garshaw.

“This is my divine magic. Almost done.” I answered.

The radiance vanished, revealing a view of the two young human. The guy and the girl were almost in an embrace.

“Who's that?” Exclaimed Jack in surprise. Samantha and Martouf stood speechless.

“They are Saroosh and Jacob. They are slightly younger and healed of all diseases.”

“A little?” Surprised Jack. “They look like underages.”

“Samantha?” Jacob woke up. “You won't believe it, I feel great. Like I'm twenty again” He jumped off the table and began to warm up.

“W-Why not. I believe now.”  She looked from me to her relative. Now he looked not like her father, but as a younger brother or even a son.

“These symbionts work wonders. I sense Selmak's presence, but he's not talking.”

“Selmak did not do this miracle. It's Imhotep's magic.” Samantha explained.

“How could that be?” Jacob said in a different voice. This time his symbiont spoke. “Even a sarcophagus can't do that. My host's body is completely healed.”

“What's happening?” Saroosh got up from her bed. Loose clothes slipped from her, revealing a perfect figure.

“I gave you a new life, and now you belong to me.” I put my arm around her waist and kissed her. “I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.”

“It... it's impossible!” Garshaw whispered.

"So you could heal my father all this time?" It finally came to Samantha.

“Of course. But why would I do that? There are so many sick, crippled, and unhappy people in the world that even if I healed a thousand a day, it would not reduce their number. Garshaw, you have already prepared a database of Goa’uld’s gate addresses?

“What? Ah... Yes. We need to evacuate immediately.” In confirmation of her words there came the twin explosion, and the walls of the dungeon began to tremble.

“Then run for the database, and we'll go to the transport rings.” I ordered to Garshaw. "And don't tell me you weren't going to do your part of the deal. In this case, the captivity by system lord Goa’ulds will be considered as salvation to you! Now, quickly!!”

They ran away all flustered. Beside transport rings, we caught up by Garshaw and she give a storage device of tok’ra to Jack.

At the surface, we were able to witness dozens of Goa’uld fighter planes, filling the sky. Looks like we're running late. I unrolled the shield spell around me. I never let Saroosh go far from me. When you are pressed by naked beautiful girl, it motivates you to commit heroic deeds.

The plasma blasts powerlessly crashed against my shield. In response, I occasionally snapped with different types of attacking spells, testing them in combat. Most of all I liked the effect of 'Decay'. When it hit the fighter, plane fell apart in the air to black dust, which gave the impression of a swirling black fog.

When we reached the gate, we found that it was already open, and crowds of jaffas were running out.

“We're late.” Garshaw sadly cried. “Now we can't escape through the gate.”

“Calm down, God is with you. Believe in me and you will be saved.”

"Ah, Imhotep, I believe in you. You are my God.” Saroosh snuggled up to me. No matter what the tok'ra say, the host gets used to obeying her master, and the miracle demonstrated by me made this woman believe in me without a trace. Perhaps this was my aura from Bahion. After all, in my village, such undivided faith in me was an ordinary phenomenon.

I calmly sparkled my eyes and held out my hand forward. Dozens of the attacking spells rushed from me, and struck the jaffas. This time it was a 'Rot' spell that decomposed organic matter to a state of mucus in a second.

After clearing the area, I focused on the address dialing device. I already had some knowledge of the Ancients, which steadily supplied by Ulric to me. Among them were the basics of controlling the Stargate. I still did not understand the principles of their work, but was already familiar with the instructions for their use. With magic I directly introduced into the DHD a special combination of symbols, after which the portal immediately closed, cutting another jaffa in half. Then I quickly dialed the address of the Earth and turned to the Colonel.

“Jack, your turn. Push the buttons” I nodded at the identification device.

He squinted at me and began to enter the code. Meanwhile, a ha’tak appeared in the sky, descending from orbit. Now that's serious. My shield and spells are unlikely to do much damage to this thing. It's over a kilometer wide. I was not sure that I will be able to reflect the shot from the main gun of ha’tak, and therefore created a couple of dozen spells with homing function, which was to get to the ship and temporarily disable its weapons.

“Faster!” I hurried them. The people began to jump into the gate.

Finally, I decided to charge the ship with a biju bomb. Magic, too, could boast of its lethal force, but for this I need some time for preparation. But chakra is in this sense, was much more suitable for doing fast paced fighting. Having formed a sphere from the chakra, I sent it to the ha’tak and immediately dived into the gate. I left my clone to check the result.

Alas, the result was not very good. Biju bomb penetrated shields, but the hull did not suffer so strongly. Of course, it would require repairs, but the destruction of ships of this type with my forces was problematic.

Much more interesting was the experience of moving through the gate while my clone remained outside. Normally, I'd let the clone through the gate, stay in this world, and then cross myself. In this case, the clone lost consciousness for a few seconds until clone arrive to the point of destination. Now I have experienced an unforgettable feeling that there is only my clone of the Chakra, and everything else, including the soul, disappeared without a trace. In a few seconds I appeared on Earth, returning my perception of the world back to normal.

“Close the diaphragm.” I shouted, moving away. ha’tak started bombing the gate from the other side. The doors closed, forming a characteristic rose, and after a couple of seconds the portal closed.

Then I witnessed a short conversation between a tok’ra and General Hammond, the results of which Goa’ulds demanded to immediately send them to another planet.

Before going, Garshaw delivered a patriotic speech.

"The time will come when the tok'ra and the tauri destroy the System Lords.”

“Or they'll piss me off, and I'll do it myself.” I did not fail to pour a barrel of tar in this spoon of honey.

Garshaw with fear looked at me and went to the gate. For her, my abilities were far more mysterious than the humans. Humans think, I used technology of Goa’ulds,  and Ancient, but she knew that neither one nor the other has nothing to do with the incident. And she hasn't seen biju bomb yet.

“Selmak says, don't call us, we'll call.” Jacob Said

Exchanging fake smiles with the team of SG-1, tok'ra walked into the open portal.

"And I say, if anything happens, call me." I said the opposite. “Jack, this is for you. Personal communication device to communicate with me. Works only in your hands.”

I gave to the Colonel another radio in the style of 'Fairy Girl' - pink with ruffles and a gold star on the antenna.

“Thank You.” At first, the commander of SG-1 feared even to take such a thing, to not be infected by the kawaii. But, having overcome himself, took the gift.

“Saroosh, come.” I gave order to my new concubine, which all present men were staring her all time.

I held out my hand, and in a second dialed the address of a neutral planet on the gate. For all, such a trick was a surprise. None of the earthlings did not suspect that I can open the gate without DHD. I picked up the girl in my arms and flew into the gate using a telekinesis spell.

After this epic display, I spent three days connecting the computer. The matter was complicated by the fact that Ancient technologies and Goa’uld’s did not use electricity for transmitting energy. And after I got a steady AC current of 220 volts, 50 Hz and a maximum current of 25 amps, I connected the computer and plunged into the worlds of virtual reality. I haven't been playing games in long time.

Jaffas brought me out of this 'rest', reporting unexpected deaths in my village. Although I already got my desired amount of Bahion, but the cult of me did not think to subside. Even my personal presence was not required, because the 'promotion of the crowd' engaged priests, and the object of worship were my statues and photographs.

And so, just a couple of days ago, began an unexplained death among my hottest fans. Everything was as usual, but in the first morning, three people did not wake up. This was written off to normal mortality, but on the second day two dozen people have not woken up. Then the jaffas raised the alarm and reported to me.

I immediately flew to the village and examined the corpses. No apparent cause of death could be found. People just stopped breathing, and their heart stopped at the same time. It was doubly weird, because usually when people die it stops the heart, or breathing, or  unless they were beheaded. The head was in place and no brain damage was observed.

I arranged a lavish funeral, and stayed the night in the village. I did not go to bed, but instead spread out over the village a diagnostic spell that registers heart failure. The first victim I found just an hour after sunset, when the folk drinking is not even over. Instantly moving to the dying with Hiraishin, I found the process of disintegration of the energy shells. After that, there was no resurrection. The soul literally left the body and disappeared in an unknown direction.

After the twentieth death in a row, I realized my powerlessness in this matter. The last incident happened right before my eyes. A woman in her forties, who was showing signs of death, looked at me, smiled happily, and then her consciousness was freed from the shackles of flesh and dispersed into the fog. I didn't even know what had happened before my eyes and why.

In order not to plunge the people into the abyss of fear, I gave these deaths as the transition of souls 'to another world', where they get into the 'heaven’ and there enjoy my company for the rest of eternity. The story was so-so, but the practice of religion in the world has shown that people can eat such nonsense.

Over the next month, the number of inhabitants of my village decreased from two thousand to five dozen. And there remained only seven from hundred Jaffa. If before I had a question 'what to do with my cult', now it was irrelevant. The cult stalled by itself. Only people not suffering from excessive religiosity survived. They were grateful to me for the improvement of life, but it was not faith in God.

In parallel with all this mysticism I continued to study the technology of ascension and to pump out the remains of information from Ulrik's brain. The latter was already in quite a bad condition. The process of unpacking knowledge damaged his brain and eventually erased the information in the cells. As a result, new knowledge could not be unpacked without being tied to the old, and the whole process was slowed down more and more. I needed a real Ancient’s brain or something to replace it. And then one suitable opportunity was planned.

After another month of unhurried self-improvement, I received the long-awaited signal from the 'walkie-talkie', which I gave to Jack O'neill. No, he never dared to call me for help, but he took the radio in his hands, and the spell in it considered the state of his body and gave me a conditional signal.

Just a couple of days ago, Jack experienced the recording of ancient knowledge in his brain. Now his subconscious was frantically trying to escape from death, organizing a passage to the Asgard galaxy, and I should at least watch this process. So I can visit the Asgards while doing it.

I moved to the gate on my planet by Hiraishin and dialed Earth's address. I knew that passage on the other side usually overlaps the damper, and therefore sent my chakra clone. I had not enough research to complete this jutsu, so it was still non-material. But in this case, it played into my hands. The clone easily leaked through the gate and inspected the destination. Now clone was visible as a transparent humanoid shadow. Naturally, this alarmed the Earthlings, and now my clone was aimed by two dozen gunmen.

“People of earth…” I decided to play a bit on the nerves, using clone as the mouthpiece. “Oh ...you dare disturb my peace.” The commandos got nervous and tightened their grip on the machine guns, waiting for the command to open fire. “By the way, at that time, I managed in beating the final boss at level eight in Dungeon Keeper.”

'Dungeon Keeper' was one of the best games I bought at the Colorado springs store.

“Who are you?” General Hammond's voice came from the speakers.

“Don't you recognize? I am Imhotep, God of knowledge and architecture.”

“I thought so.” George nodded at me through the glass.

“Yeah? How did you know?”

"My granddaughters used to tell me stories about how they beat that boss. So I thought that among the alien creatures you are the only one who could play this game.”

“Hahaha! You are right! So, will you open the flap? ... okay, I'll do it myself.”

The clone waved his hand, and the diaphragm petals parted. All I had to do was apply voltage to the right connectors of the device. That is easier to use chakra or magic to produce electricity than using a reactor of an Ancient ship. I realized that after the deed was done.

My 'original' went through the gate and appeared on Earth. Dispelling the clone, I started going down the ramp.

“General, why didn't you use the radio?”  I turned to Hammond, who was already entering the gate room. "I told you I could help you with your problems with the Ancient devices.”

Chapter Text

"With all due respect, Imhotep, we prefer to solve our own problems by ourselves.”

Secrecy and all sorts of security protocols did not leave the project management such opportunities.

“And what is the outcome of your attempts? You actually lost the entire SG-1 team. Samantha Carter and Teal'c will burn on the planet you sent them to, Jack O'neill will die of brain strain, and Daniel Jackson will be sentenced to death for not being able to translate the inscription in the language of the Ancients.”

“What?” Daniel panicked as he ran into the room.

“Hahah! Nothing, just a joke. In general, so far the results of your efforts can not be estimated even by three with a minus.”

“What did you say about Carter and Teal'c?

“Are they still here?”

“No. An hour ago, they passed through the gate to a planet where inscriptions in an unknown language were found.”

“That unknown language is language of the Ancients. I've already talked about it. And Samantha and Teal'c were on the planet with a broken Dial Home Device  (DHD). They will not be able to return, and the second star of this world will soon fry them to a delicious crisp.”

"Open the gate to this planet and contact SG-1." General ordered.

I went with him to the gate control room, where we waited for the portal to open and the video link to be established.

“Don't send a rescue team.” Samantha was on the other side. “Don't send a rescue team.”

“This is general Hammond. We hear you. Where is major Castelman?”

“He's looking for shelter. We have a problem. We can't dial the coordinates. The DHD seized up when we tried to send the probe back. The temperature is rising here, which is probably why there is no life here. Initially, the probe did not detect the second sun, which recently rose from the horizon. General, it's going to be hot in here now.”

“Dial the address manually.”

“We're trying to do that, but it's impossible as long as the gate is open on your side.”

“Understood, captain. If you don't come back within half an hour, I'll open a communication tunnel. Good luck.”

“I told you.” I said mockingly when the gate shut down. “They won't be able to dial the address and will burn there.”

“What do you suggest?”

"I suggest you trust to my wisdom and do as I say. First I need to talk with Jack.”

“Neat. Daniel, lead him to Colonel.”

I nodded and followed the anthropologist staff of SG-1.

"You say it is the language of the Ancients?" He asked me, immediately after we walk out the door.

“Yeah. That's what they call themselves.”

"And they created the Stargate system?"

“Undoubtedly. They created a lot of things.”

“Do you know their language?”

“I'm the God of Knowledge. Of course I know their language.”

“Ah…”

“We're arrived.” I interrupted the flow of questions, standing in front of the right door. The scanning spell showed that the Colonel was behind here.

“Uh... Yes.”

“And you, Daniel, I'll ask you to stay outside.”

 I turned the door handle, walked into the room and closed the door in front of the dumbfounded Daniel. I reinforced the door with magic, so I was sure that our conversation with Jack would not be interrupted.

Hey, Jack. What are you doing? ” I spoke to Colonel in the language of the Ancients.

If I only knew. ” He answers. “ Wait, you speak that language?

Of course. So what do we got here? Oh! You wouldn't believe it, but just recently I tried to create something like this. However, I used another solution. I'm afraid this thing won't last more than five minutes.

Do you know the purpose of this device? ” Jack asked.

Yes. It's a power source. Three hundred eighty volts and fifty Hertz, and a whole lot of amps. But the source of naquadah exhausted too quickly. Yes, and the efficiency is below standard. In short - junk work

Why am I creating it? ” Jack's voice was tired and confused.

To find out the answer to this question, I will need to scan your brain. Don't worry, it won't hurt. Just sit here and relax.

I pointed to the chair. Jack sat down, and I cast a series of diagnostic spells on him. Um... The cells of the brain as a whole far better tolerate the information decompression process. Plus, each cell can store a lot more information. But decompression speed is much higher, so the limit will be reached pretty soon. This was not the main problem, but the downloaded package of information.

Jack, I can congratulate you. In your mind settled ideological relative of the Goa’ulds ”.

Are you saying that I have a worm in my head?

No. It's more like schizophrenia.

Well, thanks. I immediately felt better. ” Jack said with sarcasm

The device in which you had inadvertently looked in was Ancient’s training terminal. But someone changed its training program by writing into the crystal a copy of his identity. Your brain isn't designed to acquire so much knowledge, so sooner or later it's going to kill you. Now this 'spare' person in your head is trying to somehow escape by controlling your actions.

What's the result?

Nothing. I mean, you're gonna die, or unless if you can get help from the Asgards. This is the plan of that second person in your mind. She's counting on the Asgards to erase your identity and leave a copy of the Ancient's identity. In her opinion she will be more useful than primitive Earthmen. But what decision will Asgards make, we do not know.

“So all I have to do is believe in these aliens?”

“Well, you can also believe in me. I have lots of people who believes in me that says it’s useful.”

“Can you clear my head?”

“No. More precisely, I can erase all the information, completely , but I can't erase just what this machine recorded.”

“I see.” Jack turned to his device in frustration.

“But now we have a bigger problem. Samantha went to another planet and got stuck there because of a broken DHD. So now only you can save her by coming up with a way to fix the Ancient device.”

“What? Why did nobody told me about this?”

“Well, now I told you. I think you should talk to Samantha, and then make your subpersonality deal with the problem. Although she was originally an Ancient person, now she is just a memory in your brain. But you can control her actions, in some degree.

Jack looked to his assembling device, then put down his tools and headed for the exit. Half an hour later, we again contacted to the group of SG-1 and we made sure that there is no chance to get out from that planet. Jack listened carefully to the symptoms of the problem, and then went to draw a diagram for repair. I, observing his actions, only sighed. From Ulrike’s brain, I could find instructions for using the gates, but not the drawings of the stargate controller.

After the drawing has been sent in through the gate, I began to help Jack with the assembly of the power supply. Actually, he did not need help, but sometimes his subpersonality experienced problems in order to explain to the main person what exactly needs to be done. In this case, I explained the next step in my own words or did it myself. Mind reading spell in this situation is very much helped.

After the device worked, I went with Jack to Hammond's office. When we were approaching it, the gate went off, and SG-1 came out in a temporary composition, where Jack and Daniel was replaced by two Marines.

“Good to see you.” Hammond greeted them.

“We're almost fried there, sir. The plan worked. Who invented it?”

Hammond turned silently to Jack. But Samantha noticed me because I was standing near.

“Imhotep?”

“No, Jack actually came up with the plan. Looks like he's smarter than you now, Samantha.”

“What? But that is impossible!”

I am glad you believe in my powers. ”  Jack answered grimly in the Ancient language.

I translated that phrase.

“Sorry. Thank you.” Embarrassed, Samantha buries herself in the stargate drawing and began to study it.

Teal came forward.

“I'm sorry O'neill. We couldn't help you.” He paused for a moment, then left, giving me a strange look. Jaffa's emotions were seething with confusion, jealousy and awareness of his own impotence.

“General, can I talk a few minutes?” I turned to the local authorities.

“Yeah, sure.”

Me, Jack and Hammond stepped aside.

“Jack need access to the computer with your permission. He didn't finish writing the program to save himself.”

“What program?”

What program?

Asked both of my interlocutors.

“Program to open the gates to the neighboring galaxy. The information recorded in his brain can be erased only there. It would be very unfortunate if Jack had been torn to pieces during the transition through gate just because he didn't have enough time to calibrate the gate.”

“Are you sure it's not dangerous?”

“It's Jack. Although he cannot explain it, but all actions he does is by himself. Well, it's like schizophrenia, only the second person doesn't rush at people to bite them, but tries to save herself, which means she would help you.”

Thank you.

You are welcome

“Okay, Jack. I give you my consent.”

The Colonel nodded and headed for the computer terminal. Debugging of the program took fifteen minutes, and then started the procedure of gate activation. Jack ran to set up the power source, and I stayed to calm Hammond and the rest of the SG-1.

“All right. This address leads to a nearby galaxy. Jack will report how it went to you later.”

“Will he come back?” Samantha asked anxiously.

“Of course. I will send with him my energy projection, so I will be able to ensure that everything went as it should.”

“Energy projection?” Samantha's voice was filled with disbelief and incomprehension.

“Is that what you used to get through the gate to us?” Hammond guessed.

“Yeah.”

“What?” Carter turned her head uncomprehendingly.

“I'll explain later.”  Daniel promised.

Finally, address with eight characters dialed, the portal opened.

Jack, don't worry, I'm with you. ” I encouraged the patient. “ And be careful. On the other side immediately after the transition, are stairs ”.

I created a shadow clone and sent it to the gate. Ten seconds later and Jack disappeared into the portal.

Emerging from the portal, the clone took the appearance of a man and looked around. Jack followed me out. He was already frankly sick, so I had to help him not to fall down the stairs with too small stairs.

Then a scene from the series played as planned. Jack's brain was cleared, after which he thanked everyone and promised that in the distant future, humanity will also become a great race.

I stood aside all this time, looking at the asgards. They're strange. The clone had only a fraction of my sensitivity, so I couldn't figure out what was wrong with them.

“Who is this man?” The asgards finally asked, pointing at me.

“I'm not human.” I rejected these insinuations. “I am Imhotep, God of Knowledge and Architecture. Have you not heard about me from Thor?”

“No. We haven't accepted reports from the commander-in-chief of Thor in a very long time. He's too busy with his undoubtedly important business. Only the High Council of Asgard receives this information.”

“I see. Well then, I suggest we send back this man to his world, and then I'd like to discuss some matters with you, first of all, about helping you.”

“You're not going back?”

“No. It's an energy projection. When I no longer need it, it will simply disappear.”

“We have never heard of such technologies.” Asgards began to accumulate around me, and scanning me with different devices.

“That's natural. I suggest we discuss this later. Don't compel Jack to wait.”

“No, I'm interested too.” He tried to stay in.

“You can ask me on Earth.”

“OK” He gave up easily to my commanding tone.

Further, Asgards opened passage to the Earth, and Jack had no option except to enter the portal.

On the Earth all met Jack with a smile, and I was even able to send another clone to the kitchen, where he stole the champagne from the fridge. While people were drinking and celebrating, I scanned Jack with magic. The asgards have done an interesting thing to his brain. They did not understand where that Ancient person is, but simply stopped the memory deployment process and erased the barrier between the sub-personalities. So now in the body of the Colonel was the identity of Ancient... but without the knowledge of the Ancients. More precisely, only with bits of this knowledge. Interesting.

Seizing the moment, I took Jack aside and put a cloaking spell, distorting sounds and diverting attention.

So what are you gonna do now ?” I asked him in Ancient language. He gave me a slightly frightened look. “ I can see that you have an Ancient personality now.

It seemed like a good idea at that time. ” The sub-resident replied. “ But now I realize I'm not the original. I'm just a collection of memories. Yet I cannot allow the knowledge of our race to fall to these savages. At least they won't get it from me. So I'm going to play Jack. It's a lot easier than you think.

Just don't overplay it. Jack wasn't stupid. '

“Yes, that episode with the balls, which played Goa’uld’s spies, it perfectly shows”.

“Wasn't that a thin trolling?”

“The fact of the matter is that there is no trolling'

“All right, have fun. If you want to be Jack, just be him.”

I removed the spell and went to the gate.

“Gentlemen, I am happy that you all managed to survive this day and remained in your normal mind. Do not hesitate to call me for help if your life is in danger due to lack of knowledge. And also, Jack.” I turned to the Colonel. “I understand that my radio may not be always available, so next time you can just pray to me and I'll hear. I am serious. I'm God and I hear prayers directed to me. Especially yours.”

With these words, I conducted the initiation of Jack as my priest. He felt it, but didn't show it. This connection not only allowed him to reach out to me, but also gave me the ability to remotely scan his mind. Now I will not miss important events. Because I don’t need his worship even for free.

“Good day, and thanks for the fish.” I couldn't resist a laugh.

“What fish?” Hammond was surprised.

But he did not get an answer to his question. I opened the gate and disappeared into the portal, leaving the Earthmen to deal with their own problems.

Moving to my ship, I focused on controlling the actions of the shadow clone in the Asgard galaxy.

After Jack disappeared into the portal, the clone turned to the assembled aliens.

"Dear citizens of Asgard, I came to this galaxy to help you fight the replicators. Now I'm busy with urgent matters, but in a few years I plan to handle these dangerous machines to support you in the fight against them. At this stage, I need to study the technology of replicators, for which my projection must get to one of the planets occupied by them. In this regard, I ask for your assistance in my transportation to one of the suitable places. Don't worry about my safety. This is just my projection, which does not need special environmental conditions. Thank you for your attention.”

The Asgards began to exchange glances, apparently communicating telepathically or in some other way.

“Can you tell me about yourself?” One of them asked.

“Certainly. I am a representative of a highly developed civilization. I have just arrived in your sector of the Universe and am only studying the situation. My goal is to gather knowledge about the Universe and help intelligent beings. Hopefully, in the near future, together we can take the threat of replicators under control and your species will cease to be on the verge of destruction.”

“Will you share your technology with us?”

“I'll try to do that. As practice shows, the technology of our race is difficult to combine with the technology of primitive races like yours. For example, this energy projection is a product of technologies of medium complexity, but it can not be reproduced on the basis of your primitive technologies. But I, as a God of knowledge and architecture, fervently support your curiosity and desire for development. Together we can make the world a better place. I Imhotep, promise you my moral support in these endeavors.”

This speech in the tradition of the best American diplomacy won the hearts and minds of degraded midgets. I had only called them primitive and beckoned with carrot of secret knowledge, as they immediately agreed to almost carry me in their arms. Primitive civilization in its purest form.

After a short Q&A session, They led me to a rescue capsule and promised to drop it on one of the planets captured by replicators. Naturally, they dropped it from the maximum possible distance, so I had to fly on my own, since the capsule had a weak hyperspace engine.

Once in orbit around the planet, I immediately sent my flying coffin to the surface. A couple of ships of the replicators tried to seize a free piece of valuable resources, but they did not have enough time. The capsule entered the atmosphere, braked and landed smoothly on a flat area, from a distance similar to the runway. Naturally, this place turned out to be a cluster of replicators covering the surface of the planet with a thick layer. I think my Vritras behaved the same way.

Robots was very happy to the unexpected gift from heaven and immediately began to disassemble it into components. The clone also got out and started scanning the basic blocks of the replicators, for one watching the process of production of new units of capsules. Clone was immaterial, so the replicators simply ignored him.

I took my time, and began a slow and thoughtful study of the replicators. Of course, a clone of the chakras is not very well suited for such studies, but the replicators did not pay attention to him. Even if I started disassembling them to parts, they were only a bit worried, trying to repair the damage, but they didn't attack.

After studying the physical structure of the blocks, I began to analyze their program, and then faced an unexpected obstacle. The code was an artifact of the quantum informational nature. In other words, it could not be described with a set of numbers and letters. It was a superposition of the state of trillions of atoms, which in different conditions gave different information.

It was so much more complicated than the programming techniques I knew, that I didn't even understand how this process could be explored. The program was an autonomous entity capable of multiplying and recovering. If the quantum state of the processor is damaged, it is either completely restored, or instantly stopped working. Somehow I could not change it. Any changes in  program, immediately repaired, or have led to the destruction of the program block, then the Replicators had disassemble it apart, put it back together again and copied in it the program. So cracking the program code is impossible in my current state.

After studying the replicators for almost a month, I realized why the asgards could not resist them. The only weapon that can kill them was one that is capable of the physical destruction of the blocks. And quite naturally, those were the most protected. In addition, even a small number of survived blocks could start the process of self-reproduction, nullifying all efforts to destroy them.

The question of energy supply is also solved extremely efficiently. Separate units used the technology of obtaining energy from the vacuum. I didn't know the details, but I had a description of this Ancient technology. Each block seemed to create a tiny ZPM, which was enough for about an hour of work. After that, the energy cell in the reactor was reset and created anew. In addition, this reactor allowed to absorb thermal energy, so there was no problem of overheating replicators.

In general, as result of digging in the guts of these robots, I realized that at this moment I can’t understand structure of Replicators. After that, I changed my focus on the ascension technique.

With the transition to the 'spiritual form' I had unexpected problems. In principle, I could exist without a physical body. Last resort, I could create myself the necessary astral shell with the help of magic. But the Ascension not only gave a certain 'body of light', it allowed the consciousness to begin to perceive a multidimensional space, allowed to live in it on an everyday level.

I had some experience of perceiving multidimensionality, but I can not see the 'necessary' dimensions. I do not have the necessary senses for this. When I tried to temporarily 'get out of the body' and get closer to one of the states of multidimensional consciousness, the description of which I found in the memories of Orlin, I found that I can not hold it.

For the ascendant, it was like lying on the floor - they simply could not change this state to something else without making an effort. For me, it was like balancing on the tip of a needle. It only takes a little to weaken my concentration, as my 'spiritual body' began to demolish in strange dimensions, where it was not so easy to get back.

In these practices, it was quite a real risk to fall into the wild Chaos of the Universe, where I might lost forever between the gears of life. These dangers were described in detail in the 'instructions for ascension', and I had no reason to consider them as fictions.

All this fuss with replicators and ascension consumed a lot of time. In no time to look back, as two months have passed. Despite all my efforts, the results were zero in all directions, which is not very pleasing.

In one beautiful day the spell in Jack O'neill's head send me a signal about the occurrence of important events. Someone send signal through the gate to the Earth in the frequencies of SG-1, which contained the information about gate address. It looked like an invitation to a meeting, and the Earthmen thought it was a message from Tok'ra.

I waited until SG-1 arrived at this address, then I went there myself.

“Oh! What are you doing here, huh?” I asked, passing through the gate and finding a team of Earthmen in front of me.

“From where did you appear?” Daniel asked with displeasure.

“I have a meeting with my dad here?  I feigned wounded pride.

“Who?”

“With dad. With ancestors. With the father. Do you know these words?”

“So you didn't invite us here?” Jack asked.

“Of course not. If I wanted to meet you on this planet, I would have come to the Stargate base, grabbed you by the scruff of the neck and dragged you here. I think it was an invitation from my dad.”

“Who's your father?” Samantha asked.

“Behold. I won't spoil the surprise. There he is, by the way.  I pointed to a faint point in the sky.”

“Goa’uld’s glider?” Surprised Teal'c.

“Certainly. Easy to guess that my father is a Goa'uld. And you know him very well.”

Meanwhile, the glider was hit by a plasma shot, and it collapsed to the ground behind a small sand mound. Team SG-1 rushed to the crash site, and I lazily followed them. A minute later I caught up with them, because they were slowly walking forward, aiming imaginary enemies in the clouds of smoke.

“Don't worry, he won't attack you.” I calmed them down by stepping forward. “There is he lying.” I nodded at the mutilated body crawling across the sand.

We approached the fugitive. He turned on his back, and everyone could see his face.

“Apophis?” Jack surprised. “Is he your father?”

“Yeah.” I flashed my eyes proudly.

“Help me.” Goa’uld whispered.

“You're not going to help him?” Jack asked.

“No. Today I am only a neutral observer. And I'm a God of Knowledge anyway, not God of Charity.”

“Who are you?” The dying man squeezed out words.

“You didn't recognize your own son? My heart bleeds, father. I am Imhotep, God of Knowledge and Architecture.”

“Imhotep, save me! I command you!”

“Is that a plea for help? I think you'll need more practice in the way of praying.”

Meanwhile, Teal'c recovered from the shock and pointed his weapon at his former master.

“Teal'c, we need Apophis alive.” Samantha stopped him.

“Look, my cousins arrived.” I pointed to the gliders that had appeared in the distance.  “A bunch of crows swooped down. He died not even completely, as the System Lords began to divide his territory.”

“Take him and we leave.” Jack commanded.

“You can take it slow. I will defend you.” I added, unfolding a protective spell over our heads. This time I accompanied magic with a slight illusion, so that all present were able to observe a transparent bluish veil with luminous veins.

Teal'c picked up Apophis and dragged him on his hump. SG-1 went quickly to the gate. Gliders circled above us, but did not open fire.

“What are they doing?” Samantha worried.

“They want to take Apophis alive.” Teal'c replied.

Earthlings typed the address of their planet and went to the portal. I slipped through with them.

“Good afternoon, General.” I said hello to Hammond. “Look what our catch is today”

“Imhotep? Did you send the signal?”

“No. He send it.” I nodded at the body, which had already been loaded onto the medical stretcher.

“General Hammond, Apophis. Apophis, General Hammond.” Jack introduced them. His face was full of complacency.

“We know each other.” General replied.

“I ask asylum.” Apophis replied.

‘Why?” Hammond looked at the bloody body.

“Other goa’ulds won and kicked his ass.” Jack mockingly smiled.

“When we got him, he was chased by Goa’ulds’ gliders.”  Samantha added.

“Sokar defeated him.” I explained. “Captured and tortured. Thanks to the help of the last faithful Jaffa, Apophis managed to escape, and now he plans to seize power on Earth. After that, he's going to use your knowledge and technology to take revenge on Sokar and become the strongest of the System Lords.”

"Don't you think this plan is a bit presumptuous?" Jack asked.

“This is the essence of Goa'ulds.” I replied proudly. "Even at the edge of the grave, we dream about world domination.”

Apophis translated uncomprehending look with me on others. He was not yet familiar with my trolling skills, so we had unforgettable hours ahead of us.

“I demand asylum!” Fugitive Goa’uld tried again to regain the attention.

“You're in no position to make demands.” General replied. “Lock him in some dark closet and put bricks in the entrance.” He gave the order.

I decided to test the mind control spell. It had certain limitations. In particular, the spell could not force a person to do anything contrary to his normal behavior. Now I've made General think that he's joking, and everyone around here understanding him.

“Sir, he's injured, and he can't do any benefit unless you help him.” Dr. Fraser intervened.

“Wonderful. Do everything to make him survive, and then pour concrete around his neck and throw him in the ocean.”

“Sir?” The doctor began to wonder who needed medical attention in the first place.

“What?” Hammond looked at her blankly.

“Distance from here to the nearest ocean are thousand kilometers in a straight line.”

“Oh. Well, then save his life, and later I'll decide how to execute him in the best way.”

“Oh ...Okay, sir.” Frasier suspiciously inspected General, and then pushed the couch with Apophis, simultaneously giving orders to the assistants. “Two CC's of adrenaline intravenously…”

“What?” Hammond asked again, looking at the dumbfounded subordinates. “Meeting at eleven.”

With these words he left, and the others began to disperse in all directions. Only couple of marines stayed and pretended they weren't interested in me.

Two hours later, I went to Apophis' room. He was lying on the bed, tied up by hand and foot. Devices for fixing broken bones were installed on his the legs.

“Doctor, how is he?” I asked Fraser, examining the unconscious body.

“He's dying.”

“Good. But the fact that he's unconscious is bad.”

I reached out and used a spell to remove toxins and poisons from his blood. Drugs also fell under this definition. A minute later, Apophis woke up, groaned and opened his eyes.

“Good afternoon, father. I have good news for you - you're dying.”

“Imhotep…” Apophis swallowed hard and looked at me. “You decided to make an alliance with the Tau'ri?”

“Not exactly. I am just a guest. A relative who has the right to stay with the patient until his death.”

“Why won't you help me? I'm your father!” The last sentence turned into a cough. The nurse rushed to the patient, giving him a couple of sips of water.

"I'm sorry, father, but I'm God. I help only those who offer me humble prayers. And your prayers are something not humble in any degree.”

“You want me to beg you to save me?”

“Yes, it's a good point to start. And then you should pray to me, worship me as a God, and acknowledge my power over you.”

“This will not happen!”

“Well, as you are know. I'm not insisting. But think about my offer. If you bow before me, Sokar will be your slave. You will own his entire Empire.”

“You lie!” Apophis shouted again. “You can't do that.”

“Ask the people of the Tauri. They saw my power. In the meantime, father, I will leave you alone with your thoughts and with your... pain.”

I stepped aside to be intercepted by Dr. Fraser.

“Imhotep, can I talk to you?”

“Of course.”

We stepped aside and went into a small office.

"Samantha told me you were able to heal her father, and he looked like a young man after that.”

“Yes, it is true”

"Then why don't you heal Apophis? He's your father.”

“The gods helps only those who sincerely pray to them. Or if it is beneficial to them. How many times have you seen divine healing miracle in your life?”

“Well… never.”

“And this is an excellent indicator of attitude of the gods to mere mortals. It is easier to perform a miracle by yourself than to wait for the help of the gods.”

“But you could have saved a lot of lives!” The naive samaritan soul did not let go.

“Why? You're already overpopulated here on Earth. How many of you, seven billion? I think it's a thousand times more than necessary. So you're lucky that I'm a God of Knowledge, not God of Justice. Or I'd give you a Ragnarok with the Apocalypse in one bottle.”

“You can…”

“I can. But I'm lazy.” I interrupted her another request. "Saving mortals is the most useless type of activities. You will die. And no matter how hard you try, people are doomed to suffering, disease and injustice. And even I, the God of knowledge, don't know how to change that. I tried in the past.”

I remembered my epic with the invention of Vritras. And after all of that, damned dumb humans fucked up my brilliant idea.

“Understood.”  In the voice of the doctor, came disappointment.

I turned around and headed to the break room where I could watch TV. Fifteen minutes later the General's meeting began, but I did not go there. Frasier gave me a heart attack, so I lost all sense of humor for a while.

After a couple of hours, Daniel came in. He looked at me grimly, and then sat down on the couch next to me.

“You're the God of Knowledge.” He started talking.

“You know the answer.”

“Can you share your knowledge with us?”

“Everything in the world has a price. Have you heard of the law of equivalent exchange? To get something, you have to give something of equal value in return.”

“What do you want?”

“Nothing. According to your mythology, there are good and evil gods. I'm not one of either. I don't care. I don't need your secrets, knowledge, worship, or anything else you can offer for me. If I need anything from you, I'll just offer to make an equal exchange.”

We paused, watching the TV, seeing how the Alien xenomorph eats the next idiot.

"Do you know where my wife, Sha’re is?"

“No. But I can find out the answer to that question any time if I want to.”

“But you don't want to.”

“Exactly.”

We enjoyed another bloody scene.

“I can make a prediction. For free.” I said while looking TV.

“Nice. What is the prediction?”

“Your wife will be killed by Teal'c.”

“What?” Daniel literally jumped off the couch and stared at me.

“Now you know about it.” I turned my head and looked into his eyes. “Does that knowledge make you feel better?”

“No! How will this happen?”

“But this knowledge is not for free.” I turned to the TV. “And you have nothing to pay.”

“But… I ask you…”

“Uselessly. I have atrophied sense of pity... probably a trillion murders ago.”

“What? You killed a trillion…”

“Yeah. Trillions of sentient beings died because of me. What is your Earth for me and all of you? So, another grain of sand in the endless desert.”

“Me... I'll do anything to save Sha’re.”

“Kill Teal'c.”

“What...?”

“Well, then don't kill him.”

“You want me to kill a teammate?”

“If I wanted to, you'd be running around the base with a gun shooting everyone. I suggested a way to solve your problem. But I can't guarantee it'll save your wife. Maybe then it won't be Teal'c who kills her, but Jack. Or you will never meet, and she will continue to live somewhere out there in outer space.”

“Then what do you want from me?”

“Nothing. I told you. I'm a anxiety-free God.”

"Then why did you make this prediction?"

“To make you understand the value of knowledge.”

The conversation stalled, and five minutes in silence we stared at the TV.

“Now you have nothing to pay.” I continued the conversation. “But in the future will appear such opportunity. You can take a loan, with rate. Putting your soul as pledge.”

“Sounds like a deal with the devil.” My future client chuckled darkly.

"Well, my conditions are almost divine. So it's more like a deal with an angel.”

“What do you want?”

"I want you to swear to give me all the knowledge that will be known to you in the future. Even if you promise not to tell anyone, you must tell me everything.”

“I agree.”

“Nice. Now let's make a deal. You didn't think I'd take your word for it, did you?”

In the future, Daniel would be ascended, and I wanted to get an additional source of information about this process. And the magic oath mixed with drops of Bahion assures me the receipt of their dividends. I formed the right spell, and then I cast it on Daniel, while forcing him to take the oath.

“Ready.” I concluded. “Now, actually, to the solution of your question. The next time you see your beloved, put your hands in this figure, look into her eyes and say, 'Kai!'.”

I formed a fuinjutsu seal with a paralyzing effect and then fixed it on the subject's skull. Indication of the target was to be done through the eye. The activator was the position of the hands and the phrase. I chose chakra because of the formation of such spells with magic I would have to cut the signs directly into the bones of the skull. With fuinjutsu, it was a bit easier, because I had the skill of setting the seals with 'power of sight'. I do not need any gesture of visible effect to put fuuinjutsu seal.

“Don't train on anyone. The spell is one time activatable. After you bring Sha’re to Earth, ask Jack to pray to me. I'll come and extract the snake out of her head. That's all. The charity session is over.”

Daniel understand it right. He thanked me and left the great God to his melancholy.

Meanwhile, Tok'ra arrived at the base. Finding their arrival by magic, I moved into the hall of the gate.

“Oh ...We learned that Apophis is your prisoner. You must return him immediately to the planet from which he was taken.” Martuf said as I entered the room.

“Let's go to the conference room.” General Hammond suggested.

We went up the stairs and sat around the table. I took a seat next to SG-1, the General sat at the head of the table, and Tok'ra sat across from SG-1. Martuf looked at me suspiciously, and I looked at him smugly. None of the Earthmen tried to stop me, because I gently brainwashed them with magic, forcing them to ignore my presence.

Tok'ra began to persuade Earthlings to give back Apophis to Sokar, despite the fact that Sokar can destroy the entire civilization on Earth. The General persisted in refusing to share Goa’uld before he will squeeze all possible information. It ended the altercation that Tok’ra decided to visit Apophis and check his health.

But they could not talk to the prisoner. He  was in a drugged delirium, not responding to questions. According to the doctor's forecast, Apophis was near to death. The worm had been subjected to special torture, and now slowly dying.

Only Tok’ra was going to leave, as the gates were opened for the incoming portal. First, through it tried to walk a few Jaffa, but they are suicidal died on the flap. Without the ability to materialize in our space, the gate just dropped these 'objects' turning them into nothing.

After that, a projection of the image in the form of a face appeared on the flap. Sokar directed a stream of elementary particles into the gate, which appeared from our side and heated the flap, causing it to glow.

“The people of the Tauri.” A distorted voice rang out. “You took what was mine. For this you will be destroyed.”

The image dissipated, and there was only a stream of particles, glowing flap.

“How long can they attack us?” Hammond asked.

"The gate can be kept open for thirty-eight minutes. This is the limit of the tunnel's stability. Then the tunnel will collapse.” Samantha explained.

“Then he can re-type the code and continue the attack.” Daniel said.

“It changes everything. I'm calling the President.” General was worried.

“Will you help to us?” Samantha asked.

“I don't know how.” Martouf distanced himself from this honor.

“Imhotep?” She finally remembered me.

“I promised I'd just be an observer. But I can give you advice.”

“I am listening”

"Start praying to me or to other known gods. You need a miracle.” Judging by the unhappy face of Samantha, she not going to follow this advice. "You can also wait until the gate closes, dial the Sokar’s planet address and send them a thermonuclear bomb of couple of hundred megatons. If Sokar is somewhere near the gate, he could be incinerated. I don't think even hattak could stand a blast like that at his side.”

“But innocent people will die.” The captain protested.

“When did this stop the great American people from establishing democracy? Vietnam, Iraq, the Balkans. The list is long.”

"If you destroy Sokar, then all the other System Lords will unite and destroy you.”  Martuf made a prediction.

“Then you must to be first. Send thermonuclear bombs to every worlds under rule of Goa’ulds.”

“No! We're not gonna do that.”

“Then pray.”

"Is there a way to protect ourselves from the flow of particles?"

“Plenty of ways. But your technology level is too primitive for that.”

“Listen, Carter, why don't you ask Apophis about it? His ass is gonna get hurt, too.”  Jack suggested.

“Yes, sir.” She agreed.

“I'm with you.” I volunteered to watch a free show.

I was followed by Teal'c. We went to the infirmary, where the victim of the accident was lying on the bed. Tok'ra was not around, so Apophis did not pretend to be a seizure inadequate. Time had not spared the prisoner, and in the past half hour he had aged thirty years. The body is used to recover in sarcophagus and now he is rapidly decaying, devoid of barely alive worms support.

“I'm not going to talk with traitor.” Apophis expressed his 'Fi', overlooking to Teal’c.

“Sokar attacking the gate with a stream of elementary particles through the Stargate.” Samantha started to explain. “How we can protect ourselves from it?”

“There's no protection.” Apophis replied.

“He's lying!” Teal'c said.

“Shut your mouth.” A short counter argument was given.

“What makes you so sure?” Samantha didn't let up.

“He used that weapon against me too.”

Goa’uld grimaced and huddled in convulsions.

“There's nothing he can do for you. Your only chance is to pray to me.” Again I got with my offer. "Just try it, and you'll be surprised how much faith in me can help."

"You mean you'll help us only if we beg you to help?"

“Yeah. That's how the gods work. I have already explained to you the essence of this system. What prevents you from conducting a scientific experiment to verify this?”

I didn't get an answer because the chief scientist wasn't crazy enough to believe what I was saying. Nothing to worry, I still have enough time.

 

Chapter Text

I turned to Apophis and leaned over to whisper in his ear.

"Do you still not wish to pray to me? Think of what you're giving up in your pride. You could rule the galaxy, and instead you lie here in thrall to the lower creatures and dying in painful death.”

“I won't bow before you.”

“Pity. Well, you still have time. Usually people begin to plead to the gods before death in the hope of finding salvation. Let's see if that's true for false gods like you. Will you appeal to yourself or to me?”

I stood up, showing a hungry shark's grin, and walked out, leaving the former God alone with his former 'first warrior'. I'm sure Teal'c will stomp that worm's ego into the mud.

When I got to the control room, I found an epic show: the labors began to water the hot gate flap with liquid nitrogen. After a few seconds, the evaporating nitrogen turned into gas, squeezed out all the oxygen, and all the people in the gate hall fell unconscious, suffocating without oxygen.

"You decided to kill yourself without waiting for Sokar?" I asked Samantha, who was rushing around in front of the closed door. At this moment she understands how idiotic this idea was. And even more idiotic was the fact that the heat capacity of liquid nitrogen was much less than the heat capacity of water, so that it was less useful than boiled water.

“Imhotep, save them!” She screamed.

“Is it a plea?” I said. “Or an order?”

“Please! Save them. I believe that you can!”

“Of course I can.” I was offended. "But your faith’s strength is only enough to shut off the liquid nitrogen hose valve.”

I waved my hand, but I didn't have to do anything. Nitrogen ended by itself, because the volume was not so great. However, I was not upset. Wanted a miracle? You got it. And the fact that it happened by itself, is not my problem.

“Listen up!” I shouted over the hubbub of the room. “I'm God! Believe in me and you shall be saved. Pray to me, and you will save those who are dying in the hall of the gate. Sing my name, and behold my power.”

People froze in shock from my rudeness, but one of the technicians threw doubts and began to repeat my name.

“... imhotep? Imhotep. Imhotep! IMHOTEP! IMHOTEP!! IMHOTEP!!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb-rENuLJeg

Gradually voices became more and more loud. Ten seconds later, when my name was chanted by half of those present, the forced air ventilation was activated. Nitrogen started to go up, and replaced with the normal ventilation vent with fresh air.

“Behold!” I shouted again. “Your pleas were heard, and the emergency ventilation turned on. Believe in me, and you will be able to return the dead laborers to life.”

“Don't listen him! I turned on the ventilation.” Samantha tried to protest, but her voice was drowned out by the fanatical screams of the others.

- Imhotep! Imhotep! Imhotep! Imhotep!! Imhotep!! Imhotep!! Imhotep!!! Imhotep!!!!

I felt streams of Bahion heading towards me. But these believers were not initiated, so their whole faith energy is gone to nowhere. But in order not to disappoint the congregation, I cast a mass spell of healing that was brought back the laborers to life. Seeing how people are getting up, the believers rushed to them to tell about the miracle and spread the infection of faith in me.

While I was having fun, the gate flap heated to a bright crimson color.

“Mortals!” I shouted again, this time translating my words into the ears of every man on the base. “Believe in me and you will be saved. Repeat my name and I will protect you. Sing my glory, and I will bring down my wrath upon your enemies.”

“IMHOTEP!!! IMHOTEP!!!! IMHOTEP!!! IMHOTEP!!!! IMHOTEP!!! IMHOTEP!!!! IMHOTEP!!! IMHOTEP!!!!”

They chanted like crazy. People obeyed the will of the crowd and began to repeat my name. Even Daniel and Jack succumbed to the mass hysteria. Only Samantha Carter and Tok'ra remained sane.

I used the jutsu of the ice based chakra element, and sent it to the gate. In just a few seconds, the gate flap cooled and covered with frost. I was impressed by the strength of the material from which it was made. In spite of this sudden temperature change, no part of them is cracked and deformed.

"Now, Samantha, do you believe in the power of the gods?" I asked. Even Tok'ra were impressed by this performance and walked around with bulging eyes.

“It... there must be a rational explanation for this.” She made one last attempt to deny my divinity.

“Of course. Faith in me cooled the gate’s flap. This is the rational explanation.”

“No. Impossible! It's against all laws of physics.”

“You know nothing about the laws of physics. All your theories and assumptions you made on the basis of the phenomena occurring in the refined conditions of 'ordinary reality'. But as soon as something unusual happens, all your laws stop working. It's like studying the laws of chemistry and physics at room temperature and denying the effects of cold or heat on any process. Accept reality and acknowledge the power of the gods.”

Samantha only put her arms around her head and went into denial. Sometimes it is useful to abandon the mossy stereotypes of perception. Maybe, this might enlightens her, and she will be able to come up with a new physics. Or she'll blow her mind, and I'll have to bring her back, erasing the memories.

When the mass hysteria subsided a little, the management of the base gathered in the control room.

“How long can we  hold the gate?” Hammond asked addressing to everyone, but only looked at me.

“Not so long. Soon the energy of your faith will run out, and the gate will begin to heat up again.” I answered.

“Even if Sokar cannot get through the gate, he has a ship.” Leader of Tok’ra expressed a very clear idea.

“Martuf is right.” Samantha supported him. “We can't allow an attack from space. We must send out Apophis from here.”

“We can't even if we want to” Jack said. "He is a war prisoner, and our greed will not allow us to send him to our enemies without any benefit.”

“I spoke to the President. He ordered to stop the medical intervention.” General said.

“But without another dose of drugs, he'll die of withdrawal.”  Dr. Fraser was indignant. "We gave him a special synthetic drug every fifteen minutes. If we delay even half hour he will die in wild torment.”

“I know, doctor. This is our plan. The law does not prohibit the delivery of the dead bodies to their distant relatives.”

“Hey! I'm his son, the closest relative. I demand to give the body to me!” I was indignant.

“If Sokar doesn't get Apophis’s body, he'll destroy the Earth.” Martouf said.

"I will take Apophis’s body to Sokar’s planet, After, he will solve all questions about the corpse with me. I'm going to make a scarecrow from his body, and I will give the worm to Sokar.” I laid out my plan.

“Good.” General Hammond nodded. “All agreed? Doctor, then stop drugging him. Dismissed.”

Jack, Daniel and Samantha were against it, but no one would listen to them. When politics comes into play, usually the voice of reason is silenced first.

I went to the hospital and looked at Apophis. He turned his eyes, trying to see what was happening around. He heard people chanting my name and heard conversations in which they praised me and my power.

"As you see, father, faith in me creates wonders. Sokar’s attack was unable to threaten the Tau'ri. Nevertheless, they made the right decision by deciding to give your dead body to me.”

“Dead?” The half-corpse croaked.

“Yeah. All this time they've been poisoning you, and now you'll be dead within half an hour. It will be a painful and terrible death. But you still have the opportunity to offer me humble pleas. Then I will carry your corpse to Sokar, and then I will resurrect you and make you ruler of his empire. Come on, try it. Repeat my name with true faith in me. And your soul will be saved. After your death, you will go to heaven, where you will rule under my behalf.”

Apophis turned his eyes in panic. He didn't want to believe it, but my words were eating away his brain and mind.

“My death is necessary?” He whispered, letting out a tear.

“Absolutely.” I calmed him down in a gentle voice, stroking his forehead with my hand. "It is the only way you can establish your true faith in me. Come, father. When the horror of death consumes you, repeat my name, remember only me, believe in me, bow before me, become my slave. And you will gain power over the other slaves. That's how the world works. The ruler is only the most important slave. You cannot command other slaves until you accept that you are a slave. Because a free man is free from all society. He has power only over himself. Power over others requires recognition of a hierarchy where you simply cannot be at the top. There's always someone higher than you. Like me. So take my power over you and rule over the world. Repeat my name and you will be saved.”

Apophis’s eyes tossed in delirium. He no longer understood what I was saying to him, although I knew that these words would remain in his memory forever.

“Amonet! Amonet, where are you?” He began to call his queen.

“She's not here. She gave herself to Sokar. She's the one who betrayed you.”

“No!!! Amonet, my love!”

“Your God's name is Imhotep. Remember this.”

Finally, I left the morally crushed worm to its own nightmares, then went to the break room. I have another half hour to watch TV.

I returned back to the hospital when the diagnostic spell showed the extinction of vital functions. Jack and Dr. Fraser were here. Five minutes ago, Goa’uld lost consciousness, and they were able to communicate with the personality of his host, and promised to arrange the funeral and send his soul to heaven. Now the worm woke up again and blazed with eyes while whispering:

“Help me.”

“No.” Jack replied ruthlessly.

“My host…”

“No.”

“I'm afraid.” Apophis pleaded.

“Believe in me and be saved.” I reminded him.

In response, he flashed his eyes one last time and began to struggle in agony. And at that moment I felt strong flow of Bahion from Apophis. At the last moment of his life he believed in me. The flow was even stronger than from my most fanatical followers. Well, apparently this drama will continue. I quietly threw spell to hold Apophis’s soul, and continued to hold calm face .

“The Goa’uld is dead.” The doctor diagnosed. “But the host is still alive.”

Daniel came into the room carrying some ancient Egyptian rubbish. He placed these objects, and began to say something in ancient Egyptian. When he had finished, he gave a free translation of the text.

"I told him that the burial figurine would absorb his last breath and send his soul back to Egypt.”

A minute later, the man's heart stopped and he died.

"That's what I call savage barbaric beliefs.” I commented. “Now his soul is standing next to the body, and wondering why he is still here, and not with his family.”

“Can you see his soul?” Daniel was surprised.

“Of course. And look what you've done. Instead of entrusting his soul to a real God, you worship soulless idols. This piece of clay is not able to help the dead. You just gave him hope, and then you destroyed it, plunged his soul into the darkness of despair. So when Goa’ulds resurrect him, this man's suffering will be increased a thousand fold. Is that what you wanted?”

“Me... I wanted to calm him down.” Daniel began to defend himself.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions. You deny faith in me, and yet you believe the most utter nonsense.”

Teal'c came into our room.

“It's time.” He declared. “We opened the gate.”

“Perfect.” I rubbed my hands. “Well, have a good time, and I'm off.”

With these words, I waved my hand and Apophis’ shackles immediately untied. After that, I grabbed his right leg, pulled him off the bed and walked towards the gate hall, dragging the body behind me. It was banging its head against the corners and getting stuck in the aisles, but my jerks kept moving it after me.

“What are you doing?” The doctor angrily protested to my indecent actions.

“This body belongs to me. General Hammond agreed. So it's none of your business what I do with him. I promised to give this body to Sokar, but I didn't specify that he will be one piece on that time.”

Dragging Apophis’s corpse through the corridors, I found myself in the hall of the gate. Teal'c followed me, his chest bursting with deep satisfaction. Truly, I understand him.

"General Hammond, thank you for your hospitality.” I said, passing by the local authorities and Tok'ra. “In negotiations with Sokar, I will let him know that it’s better not to touch my friends. Good luck.”

On this I passed through the gate, still dragging the corpse by the leg. At the exit I was met by the concerned Jaffa and my clone from chakra. Of course, I did not rush into the portal without looking, and let a scout to do forward exploration.

“Jaffa, kree!” I shouted with blazing eyes. “Take me to Sokar. Quick!”

Mortals ran from side to side, depicting violent activity. They immediately drove the shuttle to the gate, into which I climbed while pulling the body in tow. Jaffas stare with bulged eyes to my attitude toward the supposed God.

Five minutes later I flew into the ha’tak’s hangar. Sokar met me, surrounded by dozens of his warriors.

“Who are you?” He asked, watching me carefully while I continued to dig out the jammed body out of the Shuttle. Finally, I yanked harder, and the body gained freedom, getting off with a broken neck.

“I am Imhotep, God of Knowledge and Architecture. Bow before me, because I am the true God.”

To the surprise of Sokar, all of his Jaffa and even subordinate Goa’ulds lowered their weapons and knelt down. I again used the magic to make people think that they always served only to me. A small, almost imperceptible suggestion changed the balance of power.

“Arrest him.” I pointed to Sokar, parallely disabling all his devices with magic. “Tie him up to the cross in my throne room. And help me take this body there.”

“What? Don't listen to him! I am your master! I order yo