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Among the most mythical of legends and the tallest of tales, there was no story that was as well-believed as the Prophecy of the Godsend. To the principalities and powers that reigned over the world, the Prophecy of the Godsend was naught but an old wives’ tale that they desperately sought to obliviate from the collective consciousness of their citizenry. To the people that were being tyrannized by those principalities and powers, the Prophecy of the Godsend might as divinely infallible as any scripture. Well, to most of those people. But to the Godsend himself, the Prophecy of the Godsend was just a target. No more. No less.

Contrary to popular belief, the Godsend was not an angel of any sort. Instead; the Godsend was a man with a pastel white and perfectly immaculate complexion that was far more characteristic of the upper class than any of the lower classes, a lean physique which exhibited naught but a mediocre amount of muscles, lustrously silver hair which was lustrous shoulder-length, a pair of eyes with irises which were both a forget-me-not cerulean and dotted with a few mesmerizing twinkles of dark mischief. He wore a necklace from which the dog tags of Vice Admirals were hung, a single- and short-sleeved tunic which did not cover the the upper left portion of his torso, a leather gauntlet over his right hand, a leather wristband over his left wrist, two pair of belts over his waist, a pair of well-worn tights which had bandages wrapped around a few of its innumerable amount of holes, and a pair of boots which each had a pair of belts wrapped around it. Lastly, the Godsend was armed with a double-edged longsword and a flintlock — somehow — bazooka.

“How far are we from this Ebon Raptor?” asked the Godsend from the back of rowboat. The subjects of the Godsend’s question were the rowboats’ ferrymen, a pair of men whose identical appearances could have deceived just about anyone into believing that the two of them were twins. Both of the ferrymen were dangerously able-bodied and ominously tall. The ferrymen also shared the menacingly pitch-black strands of their oily hair, the maddeningly jet-black irises of their brooding eyes, their large pairs of grimly black wings, and the vaguely star-shaped burn that was on each of their chest. In addition; both of the ferrymen were dressed in a blue tricorn with a red trimming, a blue overcoat which was trimmed with red fur, no shirt, a pair of pants which was dotted with a myriad of pistol-totting holsters, and a pair of boots. Lastly, both of the ferrymen were armed with a nodachi which had an astrological clock hanging from the end of its saya.

“You have yet to offer me an invitation to this adventure; much less inform me about any of the minute details,” answered one of the ferrymen with a shrug. Needless to say, the Godsend was more than just a little confused by the ferryman’s unconventional answer to his question.

“And you failed to inform me about the length of this journey,” added the other ferryman as he continued to single-handedly row the Godsend, the other ferryman, and him through a storm that was more than capable of capsizing the wooden rowboat that the three of them were traveling Paradise on.

“Probably because he never gets the chance to finish this journey,” noted the first ferryman. As an instinctive response to words the he couldn’t help but to interpret as a threat, the Godsend took a firm hold of his longsword’s handle. However, in stark contrast to the Godsend’s expectations, neither of the ferrymen paid any mind to his violent response. Instead, the two of them simply continued to casually converse with one another.

“If I had been any one of us other than the last; that would have been a spoiler,” said the second ferryman in a snarl which made his indignation very, very clear to the other ferryman.

“If you had been any of us other than the last, that would have been vengeance for spoiling the fact that we never get to know any of the details. But because you’re the last, there is nothing that I’m currently able to say that’ll spoil this for you. So I’ll just wait until I have become the last and then I’ll take a trip back and spoil something juicy for you,” snorted the first ferryman.

“What are you guys talking about? And why do you say that I’m not going to finish this-” was all the Godsend got to say before he abruptly found himself within the suction-cupped grasp of a brobdingnagian octopus’ tentacle. Before the Godsend could managed a response to the tentacle, the tentacle begun to squeeze the Godsend to the point where the pupils of the Godsend’s eyes were dilating out of the Godsend’s eye sockets. Much to the Godsend’s displeasure, neither of the ferrymen graced his plight with any amount of attention. Instead, the ferrymen focused all of their attention on their bickering.

“A spoiler for a spoiler will make our life rather bland, don’t you think?”

“Don’t think you can talk your way out of this,”

“Technically I KNOW that I can — and already have — talked my way out of this,”

“And once again, you have spoiled me!”

“L-l-let go!” screamed the Godsend an instant before he bit the tentacle like a rabid dog. Immediately afterward, the tentacle released the Godsend and consequently allowed the Godsend to withdraw his longsword from its scabbard. By the time the tentacle managed to attempt a second wrap-around the Godsend, the Godsend was sheathing his longsword within its scabbard and the tentacle was dividing into the myriad of pieces that the Godsend had quickly chopped it into. Subsequently, the Godsend about-faced towards the ferrymen and then subjected the ferrymen to the fiercest glare that he could muster. “Why-”

“Don’t be fickle,” interjected the second ferryman with a roll of his eyes. “You specifically asked us to not help you, so you would be too preoccupied with being angry at us to defend yourself from the second tentacle,”

WHAT‽” exclaimed the Godsend as he drew his longsword in preparation for a battle with the tentacle that the ferryman had spoken off. As soon as the Godsend’s longsword was out of its scabbard, a second tentacle arose from a rather distant portion of Paradise. The Godsend inquisitively raised an eyebrow at the fact that the tentacle had chose to emerge at a distance that placed him out of its range. Unfortunately for the Godsend, it was at this time that a tentacle burst through the floor of the rowboat and basically uppercut the Godsend into more than just a few backflips away from the rowboat.

“No, no, no. You misunderstood me. I didn’t mean the second tentacle to appear. I meant the second tentacle that managed to touch you,” explained the second ferryman as the Godsend winced at the pain of the third tentacle’s uppercut and then utilized a jerk of his hips to bring an end to his backflipping. Subsequently, the airborne Godsend was charged by at least a hundred — if not more — tentacles.

With a majestic roar that was more than worthy of any lion, the Godsend proceeded to frantically hack-and-slash all of the tentacles that dared to approach him. Unfortunately for the Godsend, for every tentacle that he managed to mince into sushi, a dozen tentacles arose to take its place. Even more unfortunately for the Godsend, his battle against the tentacles was preventing him from battling gravity. Consequently, it wasn’t long before the Godsend found himself splashing into the accursed waters of Paradise.

As soon as the Godsend’s waist was underwater, the Godsend lost all of his strength and he became a mere hammer. The Godsend managed to utter a curse before he — like all hammers — sunk like an anvil. To make matters worse, the tentacles took full advantage of the Godsend’s newfound helplessness. Without any concern for the fun that could be found in a challenge or the honor that could be found in fairness, the tentacles seized the Godsend and then wasted no time in pulling the Godsend into the depths of Paradise. The Godsend expected the tentacles to pull him into the mouth of a hungry sea king, so the Godsend was very much surprised to see that the tentacles were doing no such thing. Instead of pulling him towards the mouth of a sea king…

...the tentacles were pulling him towards a light.

...[]

“Bu-ruriko!” swore the Godsend as he abruptly transitioned from being encompassed by light to being encompassed by clouds. Unfortunately for the Godsend, being submerged in clouds was just as debilitating to him as being submerged in water. Fortunately for the Godsend, it wasn’t long before he was no longer submerged in clouds. But Unfortunately for the Godsend, the reason why he was no longer submerged in clouds was because he had dropped out of the clouds and into a long, long, LONG fall towards the sandy ground of an island’s beach. “Bu-bu-BU-RURIKO!”

After a few minutes of free fall and panic, the Godsend sheathed his longsword and then outstretched his arms towards the ground. Subsequently, the Godsend attempted to evoke the power of his devil fruit. However, the Godsend’s attempt was immediately thwarted by his lack of the necessary amount of stamina. The Godsend frowned at the fact that he was thoroughly exhausted for a seemingly inexplicable reason and then glared at the parcels of cloud that were stuck a supermajority of his body. While the aforementioned clouds may not have been sapping enough of the Godsend’s stamina to prevent the Godsend from moving, they were sapping enough of the Godsend’s stamina to prevent the Godsend from utilizing the power of his devil fruit.

With a gnash of his teeth and a guttural growl, the Godsend brandished his bazooka and then took aim at the ground that he was rapidly descending upon. With all of the precision of an atomic clock, the Godsend waited until he was naught a single foot from the ground and then used his bazooka to fire a high-explosive incendiary cannonball into the ground. As soon as the cannonball impacted upon the ground, the cannonball burst into a fiery explosion of oddly flowery flames. Contrary to the Godsend’s expectations, the explosion did not neutralize the gravity of his fall. Instead, the explosion cushioned the gravity of his fall. Consequently, while the Godsend may not have been splatted by his fall, the Godsend was embedded face-first into the ground by his fall.

“Ugh,” grumbled the Godsend as he pushed himself out of his sand angel and then shakily stood to his feet. Immediately afterward, the Godsend jumped with fright at the unexpected sight of one of the ferrymen. “Y-y-you!”

“You seek the Prophecy of the Godsend. No. It’s more like you seek the beli that you promised to pay yourself if you thoroughly searched the Ebon Raptor for the Prophecy. Regardless, you and I both need to get you to the Ebon Raptor. Well, technically, we simply need to act as if we need to get you to the Ebon Raptor…” started the ferryman without so much as glancing at the Godsend. The Godsend sweat-dropped at the ferryman’s quirkiness and then indignantly stamped his foot upon the ground.

“What are you talking about‽” asked the Godsend in a scream. In response, the ferryman took a long look at the Godsend and then burst into a fit of poorly stifled giggles. With bared teeth and a growl of discontent, the Godend extracted his longsword from its scabbard and then rocketed himself into a lunge towards the ferryman. However, while the Godsend was en route towards the ferryman, the ferryman commenced to simply vanish into thin air. By the time the Godsend was upon the ferryman, there was nothing left of the ferryman. As he dropped from his lunge into a skid, the Godsend sheathed his longsword. Subsequently, as soon as the Godsend’s skid came to a stop, the Godsend was frightened into yet another jump by an unexpected tap upon the back of his right shoulder. Without hesitation, the Godsend about-faced and was not at all surprised to see the ferryman with his mouth upwardly curled into a mischievous smile. “Just who are you?”

“I’m sorry, but you would laugh as well. If you saw a king playing the role of a pawn,” explained the ferryman in an apologetic tone of voice as he stepped to the side and thereby presented a gravestone to the Godsend. Strangely, the gravestone did not have a name on it. As a matter of fact, the gravestone did not have any words on it. Instead, it was completely and utterly blank. “But to answer your questions, I’m talking about the job that you gave me. For I am your employee,”

“You volunteered to take me to the Ebon Raptor after I questioned you about it,” asserted the Godsend out of the suspicion that the ferryman was going to try to bill him for his unfinished ride on the rowboat. “I never hired you!”

“You did, you’re doing, and you do. All at once,” said the ferryman right before he the blade of his nodachi from the nodachi’s saya and then pointed the blade at the gravestone. “This stone will be made by you; in memory of your friends,”

“I don’t have any friends,” grumbled Godsend as he shamefully lowered his eyes to his feet and bashfully plucked his hands into his pockets. “Never did and I never will,”

“You did, you’re doing, and you do. Once again; all at once,” said the ferryman an instant before he sheathed the blade of his nodachi within his nodachi’s saya and then locked his eldritch eyes onto the Godsend’s eyes. “Only a few of this world’s inhabitants are capable of perceiving the Color of Observation. You are, am, and will be among the few; so the causality that you experience is not the same type of causality that is experienced by most people. For most, what will be the future is dictated by what will become the past. But for you and the other few, what will be the future is dictated by both what will become the past and what could have been the future. You can peer into the distant reaches of history, so your present actions are just as determined by the future as they are by the past. So any event that happens in your future can change what you do in your present. And because your present is your past to your future; the end result is that if you change the future you change the past,”

“Is there a point to this nonsense?” barked the Godsend as he removed his hands from his pockets and then angrily clenched his fists at what he perceived to be the ferryman’s rambling.

“Now if you consider both the fact that one’s actions in the present is what determines one’s status in the future and the fact that a change to the future can change the past, you’ll realize that one can utilize one’s actions in the present to change the future in a manner that changes the past. In other words, what you do now can change what you have done in the past!” continued the ferryman right before his mischievous grin soured into a frown. “And by the way, this so-called nonsense are your words. Words that you told me to tell you. You say that you did not hire me, but that is blatantly untrue. You did hire me. You hired me to wait for you here where I was to speak some words to you, use a rowboat to take you to the Ebon Raptor, steal a certain someone's guns, and then use a rowboat to take you to the Ebon Raptor;”

“I don’t remember telling you to do any of that! As a matter of fact, I don’t remember having met you before today!” screamed the Godsend.

“Neither do I,” said the ferryman with a shrug.

“Huh?”

“Neither. Do. I,” repeated the ferryman. “I don’t remember being hired by you, but the future me does remember such a thing. Which means that I must have lost the memory in the past and then regained the memory in the future. Of course, that begs the question: How did I lose that memory? I don’t have much interest in the scheme that you seemed to have dragged my future self into, but I am extremely curious about the cause of me losing memories. I don’t like the fact that I can be deprived of my memories in a manner which leaves me completely unaware of those memories’ absence,”

“Well I don’t have much of an interest in whatever is going on here! I’m just a mercenary! Nothing more and nothing less! My interests lie in money, not any of this Bu-Ruriko! If I’m not getting paid-”

“You will be paid all of the beli that was promised to you; but the reward comes after the work my friend,” interjected the ferryman. “But to do your job, you need to reach the Ebon Raptor. But you can not reach the Raptor by sea, the Raptor’s protector will thwart your every attempt. That rowboat was destined to take me to the Raptor, not you. For you, the rowboat was a path to this place. And from this place, you can make your way to Oca Aronne whom will be the one to take you to the Ebon Raptor,”

“Where is Oca Aronne?” asked the Godsend more out of exasperation than any amount of interest. By this point in time, the Godsend was more than just a little desperate to talk about something other than time, other hims, and most definitely other ferrymen. Truth be told, the Godsend didn’t understand most of the crap that had come out of the ferryman’s man. All of the Godsend really knew for sure was that he had a job. He needed to get to the Ebon Raptor and then bring back proof that he had been there in order to convince his employer into believing that he had taken the time to investigate the Ebon Raptor’s connection to the Prophecy of the Godsend. All of the other crap, all of that nonsense about changing time and missing memories, flew right over the Godsend’s head.

“The lighthouse,” answered the ferryman as he pointed to a lighthouse which was oddly situated in the middle of a forest. However, as soon as the Godsend laid his eyes on the lighthouse, a short-lived earthquake toppled lighthouse into a descent upon the forest. The Godsend’s mouth dropped into a gawk at the sight of the lighthouse’s descent and then the Godsend inquisitively looked at the ferryman. Much to the Godsend’s annoyance, the ferryman simply shrugged. “He is rather popular with the Marines,”

“He’s popular with those SOCIOPATHS‽” asked the Godsend with more than just a few trembles of pure, unadulterated fear. Once upon a time, the Marines was a navy of enlistees whom were dedicated to the enforcement of the law. But nowadays, the Marines was a navy of conscripts whom were cowed into the enforcement of Fleet Admiral Shinan’s will upon the Blues and Paradise. The current Marines would have been operating in the New World as well, but they were prevented from doing by the fact that Admiral Candide Voltair had deluged the New World in lava by destroying each of the three Endpoints with a dozen dyna stones. Each.

“You tend to be popular with the Marines when you’re one of the two people whom are responsible for the feticide of the Fleet Admiral’s younger sister,” explained the ferryman. The Godsend sweat-dropped at the ferryman’s nonchalance and then groaned at his misfortune. The Godsend briefly considered abandoning his mission, but the Godsend quickly decided against that course of action. As much as the Godsend wanted to avoid becoming an enemy of the Marines, the Godsend wanted to avoid tarnishing his reputation a lot more. While the Godsend could survive the pursuit of the Marines, the Godsend would not be able to survive without a source of income. With yet another groan, the Godsend steeled himself and then ventured into the forest that lied beyond the beach..

...[]

“This place is a death trap,” sighed the Godsend as he side-stepped an acorn which had been spat at him by the foliage of a tree. Not long after, the acorn impacted against the trunk of another tree and consequently burst into an explosion of razor-sharp pollen. As the pollen carved foot-deep depressions into the trunk of the other tree, the Godsend couldn’t help but to tremble a bit. However, in spite of his trembling, the Godsend did not lower his guard. As a result, the Godsend was able to use his longsword to both casually bisect a vine when the vine attempted to whip around him and then pierce a root when the root attempted to coil around his foot.

“Hey! I take offense to that!” heard the Godsend from above. At first, the Godsend simply blinked. But then, after a few seconds of confusion, the Godsend looked up and then inquisitively raised an eyebrow at the sight of a pair of girls whom were both entangled by a multitude of vines. One the girls was a busty blonde with a rosy complexion and the greenest eyes that the Godsend had ever seen. While the other girl was a flat-chested brunette with an olive complexion and steely, grey eyes. The blonde was dressed in a spaghetti-strapped and slitted dress which left most of her back exposed. While the brunette wore both a suit jacket over a collared and long-sleeved shirt and a miniskirt.

“As do I. Arcania is not a death trap,” asserted the brunette. Immediately after the brunette made her assertion, the vines that were entangled around the blonde and the brunette tightened their grips upon the blonde and the brunette. Consequently, neither the blonde nor the brunette could prevent herself from retching in response to the constriction that she was being subjected to. “N-n-nope. Not a death trap at all,”

“Uh huh,” sighed the Godsend. With a roll of his eyes and a short-lived flourish of his longsword, the Godsend hack-and-slashed the vines into microscopic pieces. As a result, the Godsend safely dropped the blonde and the brunette onto the ground beside him. The foliage of the nearby trees trembled with rage at the loss of their prey and then they gatling-gunned a volley of acorns at the blonde, the brunette, and the Godsend. Within the span of naught but a few milliseconds; the Godsend sheathed his longsword, took the blonde under his left arm and the brunette under his right arm, and then sprung out of the radius of the foliage’s bombardment. Unfortunately for the Godsend, by the time he was landing from his spring, the foliage was already redirecting its bombardment towards his landing point. The Godsend snorted at foliage’s persistence and then burst into a sprint with the blonde and the brunette in tow. “What were you saying about this place not being a death trap?”

“It wasn’t always like this!” whimpered the blonde as the Godsend zig-zagged his sprint in order to thwart the foliage’s attempts to fire its acorns where he was going to be rather than where he was. Much to the Godsend’s annoyance and confusion, exiting the range of the trees’ foilage did not save him from the trees’ wrath. Instead, it seemed to simply transfer the trees’ wrath to another tree. For as soon as the Godsend was out of one group of trees’ reach, the nearest group of trees would instantaneously proceed to open fire upon him! “The forest used to be harmless!”

“By the way, the emphasis is on the forest rather than the harmless,” quickly added the brunette with a raised finger.

“What is that supposed to-” was all the Godsend got to say before the ground beneath him rose into a volcano-shaped hill and then erupted with boiling mud. The Godsend hissed with pain — while the blonde and the brunette outright screamed — as the blonde, the brunette, and him were swept into the air by a wave of the aforementioned mud and then slammed into the ground when the wave inevitably collapsed. Immediately afterward a creature climbed out of the hole in the newfound hill. Said creature was millipede-shaped, skeletal, and exhibited a pair of arms with sickle-shaped hands. At the mere sight of the creature; the foliage ceased-and-desisted its assault upon the blonde, the brunette, and the Godsend in favor of masquerading as normal trees. For the creature was a goddamn DEATHSIRE. And NOTHING fucks with a Deathsire!

“The forest used to be harmless; but the wildlife has always been anything but harmless,” explained the blonde as the brunette, the Godsend, and her pushed themselves onto their and faced down the Deathsire that stood before them.

“That thing looks like death!” gulped the Godsend.

“It SIRED death!” stated the blonde as a fact rather than an exaggeration.

“By making a bitch out of life!” added the brunette.

“M-m-maybe it’s not hungry?” hoped the Godsend only a moment before the Deathsire charged the blonde, the brunette, and him! Much to the Godsend’s horror, the elephantine size of the Deathsire did not prevent the Deathsire from moving fast enough to prevent itself from being seen as anything other than a blur! As the Deathsire came upon the blonde, the brunette, and the Godsend; it uttered a roar which dropped the clouds from the sky and ripped the ground asunder! In response to the fact that his surroundings were fogged up by the fallen clouds, the Godsend closed his physical eyes and then opened his spiritual eyes. As soon as the Godsend opened his spiritual eyes, the Godsend caught sight of the fact that the Deathsire was about to lash at him with one of its sickles.

Before the Deathsire managed to so much as begin its lash, the Godsend flashed into a slash at a velocity which caused him to bisect the fog itself! As the fog split into halves with a clear void between them and the Godsend skid to a halt, the Godsend took a look at his longsword and grimaced at the fact that its seastone blade was cracked! Its. SEASTONE! Blade. Was. CRACKED! Subsequently, the Godsend hesitantly looked over his shoulder and trembled at the sight of a perfectly unharmed Deathsire.

By the time the halves of the fog managed to reunite with one another, the Deathsire had already managed toboth about-face and throw itself at the Godsend. However, while the Deathsire was in the middle of its lunge towards the Godsend, the Deathsire abrupt found itself floating in midair rather than approaching the Godsend. The Deathsire inquisitively tilted its head at the sight of its sudden levitation, while the Godsend sighed in relief.

“Tenshou, Ikedori (English: Astronomical Phenomena, Capturing Something Alive)!” exclaimed the blonde with eyes which were devoid of all but sunshine-colored sclerae. With all of the confidence of a goddess, the blonde smirked at the Deathsire’s helplessness…

...and then abruptly blacked out. The Godsend’s mouth dropped into a gape as it dawned upon the Godsend that the Deathsire had just used the Color of the Conquering King on a single target. So not only did the Deathsire have the Color of the Conquering King, but the Deathsire had the skill to efficiently direct its Color of the Conquering King at a single target. As soon as the Deathsire dropped from its levitation to the ground, the Deathsire abandoned its assault upon the Godsend in favor of an assault upon the blonde. The brunette protectively positioned herself between the blonde and the Deathsire, but the Deathsire effortlessly swat the brunette through enough trees to cause the brunette to leave the range of the Godsend’s sight. Immediately afterward, the Deathsire raised one of its sickles over its head and dropped the sickle towards the blonde!

“Nooo!” howled the Godsend as he rocketed into a lunge towards the Deathsire. Under normal circumstances, the Deathsire would have slew the blonde and then turned its attention towards the incoming Godsend. However, fortunately for the blonde, a Color of Observation-induced premonition prompted the Deathsire into taking a look over its shoulder. It was at this point that, for the first time in its life, the Deathsire knew fear. Before the Deathsire’s very eyes, the Godsend had just flexed his arms to an oversize that literally tore all of his arms’ skin into shreds! Before the Deathsire managed to recover its disgust and horror, the lunging Godsend slashed towards the Deathsire with all of the might that he could muster. As a result, the Godsend managed to propel an immense mass of air into the shaping itself into the head of a lion and then chomping upon the Deathsire.

Immediately after the Deathsire was struck by Godsend’s flying slash, the Godsend’s flying slash exploded into a short-lived tornado which dispersed the fog. As soon as the Godsend realized that the fog was gone, the Godsend closed his spiritual eyes and then opened his physical eyes…

...to the sight of scratched up, but very much living Deathsire. Before the Godsend could manage to be downcasted by his flying slash lack of effectiveness against the Deathsire, the Godsend found himself being subjected to the will of the Deathsire. While the Deathsire may not have been the very first individual to mentally assault the Godsend with will, the Deathsire was the very first individual to immediately overwhelm the Godsend with will. Usually, the Color of the Conquering King made the Godsend feel as if he was pressed upon by a heavy weight. But the Deathsire’s Color of the Conquering King made the Godsend feel as if he was submerged in an ocean that was applying pressure onto him and him alone. Even the Ds’ Color of the Conquering King paled in comparison to the Deathsire’s!

“You know, after I lost to that Jolly D. Christ, I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would NEVER again be totally dependent upon my devil fruit. For making me break that promise…” begun the Godsend as he was brought to his knees by the Deathsire’s Color of the Conquering King. Subsequently, the Godsend begun to gurgle with bubbles which had not formed from the Godsend’s spit. Immediately after the Godsend begun to gurgle, the Godsend effortlessly stood to his feet. Surprised by the Godsend’s abrupt and inexplicable recovery, the Deathsire took a few steps away from the Godsend and then angrily re-attacked the Godsend. Much to the Deathsire’s fear and frustration, the Godsend showed no signs of being affected by the second bout against its Color of the Conquering King. Instead; the Godsend continued to gurgle for a short while, eventually swallowed the bubbles that he had been gurgling, and then cockily smirked at the Deathsire.

“...I, King Majestic T. Decaden of Aspara, am going to make you wish that you had sired your own death!” finished Decaden as he tossed his broken longsword over his shoulder and then begun to simply walk towards the Deathsire. As Decaden neared the Deathsire; bubbles begun to be blown out of Decaden’s ears, nose, mouth, and skin pores. The Deathsire hissed at what it perceived to be Decaden’s arrogance and then blitzkrieged Decaden with the intent of bestowing upon Decaden yet another hole from which bubbles could be blown. Much to the Deathsire’s disbelief, before it managed to reach Decaden, Decaden managed to intercept its blitzkrieg. With naught but a thrust of his palm, Decaden pushed a vast amount of air with enough force to erect a gaseous wall of wind. As soon as the Deathsire came into contact with the wall, the Deathsire found itself being squashed by the wall like a bug being crushed under the heel of a boot. Only the Deathsire’s instinctive use of its Color of Armaments prevented it from being instantly slain!

“I have the power of the Order Order Fruit. I can create word bubbles that contain an order. Anyone, and even anything, struck by such a bubble has to follow the order that the bubble contains. Before you is the greatest offensive use of the Order Order Fruit that I have ever come up with. This is the Bubbleman! I use my bubbles to order all of the microorganisms in my body, regardless of whether they’re alive or dead, into assisting my body in its functions! To put it simply, whereas I used to have the strength of millions…” explained Decaden an instant before he flashed into the Deathsire’s face and then flat-out punched the Color of Armaments out of the Deathsire! As the Deathsire impacted upon the ground with enough force to blast an enormous crater into the ground, Decaden pocketed his hands and then sneered at the fallen Deathsire. “...I now have the strength of hundreds of billions!”

With clenched teeth, the Deathsire furiously arose into a flurry of berserk slashes. With ease that was very much uncharacteristic of him, Decaden dodged around each and every one of the Deathsire’s slashes and then casually uppercutted the Deathsire into the air. Immediately afterward, Decaden wasted no time in leaping after the ascending Deathsire. Out of desperation, the Deathsire swung the entirety of its body into a whiplash. Unfortunately for the Deathsire, Decaden simply caught it and then swung it into a hurtle towards the ground. To make matters worse, before gravity managed to slam the Deathsire to the ground, Decaden took the liberty to kick himself into a descent which allowed him to punch the Deathsire into the ground. Blood geysered out of the Deathsire’s mouth as Decaden’s punch embedded it into the ground.

The Deathsire attempted to push itself free of its embedment, but Decaden pulled it out of its embedment before it managed to do so. With a battle cry; Decaden slung the Deathsire into a hurtle through the air, effortlessly leapt after the Deathsire, and then began to savagely pummel the airborne Deathsire with a barrage of his strongest punches! Each of Decaden’s punches struck with the force of volcanic eruption; consequently, it wasn’t long before Decaden managed to beat the Deathsire’s exoskeleton inot non-existence. By the time Decaden and the Deathsire were landing on the ground, the Deathsire was unconscious and more than just half-dead.

In-between desperate gasps for much-needed air, Decaden chuckled at the Deathsire. While the Bubbleman may have allowed Decaden’s body to labor a lot more cells than it normally had access to, it also forced Decaden’s body to support a lot more cells than it normally had to. Consequently; the Bubbleman was very, very taxing on Decaden. So if the Deathsire had stalled the battle between Decaden and it rather than rushed into it, the Deathsire would have easily defeated Decaden!

Not long after the Deathsire’s defeat, a thoroughly exhausted Decaden collapsed onto the ground and fell unconscious himself. The nearby plants threatened to devour Decaden while he was knocked out, but the plants roots and vines were quickly repelled by the brunette. With a sigh of exasperation, the brunette tossed Decaden over her right shoulder and then went to place the blonde over her left shoulder. While the brunette may not have been adverse to the idea of rescuing her best friend and the man who just saved her from a deathsire of all things, the brunette was adverse to taking responsibility for their well-being. The brunette was not particularly confident in her ability to protect her newfound charges…

...but the brunette was going to protect them. Even if it meant sacrificing her life.

...[]

“If the past were to be changed, the present would change in turn. What you do in the present, will determine the future. And if you change the future, you change the past. That’s the cycle. The past shapes the present, the present dictates the future, and the future influences the past. So. Where does it begin? And where does it end? Does the concepts of the beginning and the end exists as anything other than a figment of our imagination? And if those concepts are existence that are independent of any individual’s perceptions, how do they apply to the timeline of a world with seers?”

“How did you get into my dreams?” asked Decaden as he searched his dreamless sleep for any sign of the ferrymen. However, much to Decaden’s frustrations, neither of the ferrymen were in sight.

“In your fight with the Deathsire, which happened first. The Deathsire’s attempt to lash at you, or your reaction to that attempt? Because of your Color of Observation, you were to see the Deathsire’s future actions as if they were its present actions and then you were able to act in a way that allowed you to prevent the Deathsire from taking its future actions. It seems to be pretty linear. You got yourself into a situation, you looked into the future for insight into the situation, and then you used what you saw in the future to resolve the situation. Past. Present. Future.”

“It seems simple because it IS simple. There is the past, there is the present, and there is the future! And they do not criss-cross over one another! Period!” growled Decaden with an indignant stamp of his foot. However, in spite of his rebellion against what he was hearing, Decaden was starting to understand the meaning behind it.

“Do you really believe that? Think about it. Technically, the future you saw never happened. Because your response to that future prevented that future from occurring, that future ceased to be a reality and therefore became a fiction. But, that future HAD to have happened in order for you to respond to it. With the keyword being HAD. Which refers to the PAST tense. That future did happen, but it did not happen in the future. Instead, that future happened in the past. Thanks to your Color of Observation, what used to be your future became your past. A fictional past, but a past still."

“Yes, but what is the point‽” asked Decaden in a growl. “What is the point of this lecture and the ferryman’s lecture? What does this crap have to do with ANYTHING‽ It’s all just pointless philosophy!”

“If the past were to be changed, the present would change in turn. What you do in the present, will determine the future. And if you change the future, you change the past. Knowing these three things, what could one do if someone were to change the past and thereby create a TERRIBLE future? In a world without seers, unless one were time itself, one could do nothing. If someone were to change the past, your present self would be recreated alongside the rest of the present.”

“However, in a world with seers, things are different. While it’s true that one will still be recreated alongside the rest of the present, it’s just as true that the recreation of one’s present self will not hinder one’s ability to utilize one’s foresight. It’s a simple fact that foresight is not restricted by the law of time, because foresight allows you to break the rule that prevents you from perceiving an event before the event has happened. Most people assume that foresight is limited to the future. That assumption is false. Foresight has no such limitation. Foresight trumps the past just as much as it trumps the future.”

“Therefore, it’s possible for a seer to foresee a future caused by a change in the past. The seer is still doomed to be recreated by the change in the past, but the seer is not prevented from seeing the future changes before the seer is recreated. Now, with this in mind, think about our cycle. If the past were to be changed, the present would change in turn. What you do in the present, will determine the future. And if you change the future, you change the past. So, what does one do if someone were to change the past and thereby create a terrible future?”

“You change the past back to the way it was before, by changing the future!” answered Decaden with a knowing sheen in his eyes. Now, now Decaden understood. “With the Color of Observation, one changes the future by fictionalizing the future that one does not want to happen. Or in your case, no, our case; one fictionalizes EVERY FUTURE EXCEPT THIS ONE!”

“This one future, that’ll change the past and set things right!”

...[]

“It was all a setup. A setup that was orchestrated by me. Nothing that has happened, is happening, and will happen is a coincidence. It’s all a part of a master plan. The Prophecy of the Godsend, the Ebon Raptor, the Protector, Arcania, and the Deathsire; I was destined to encounter those things. The Prophecy of the Godsend existed to lure me to the Ebon Raptor, the Ebon Raptor existed to lure me to the Protector, the Protector existed to lure me to Arcania, Arcania existed to lure me to the Deathsire, and the Deathsire existed…” murmured Decaden as he awoke with his head lying upon a pillow and the rest of his body lying on the wooden floor of a log cabin. After a yawn and a stretch of his limb, Decaden sat up and then opened his eyes to the sight of four people. “...to lure me to these people,”

“I’m glad to see that you have recovered from whatever it was that you did to yourself,” said the blonde whom was one of the two among the four people that Decaden recognized. “I’m Solaire, and my friend…”

“...Bobby,” finished the brunette, the second of the two among the four people that Decaden recognized.

“Since we seem to be doing introductions…” said one of the two among the four people that Decaden did not recognize. This was a lanky man with a mellow complexion, a pair of eyes with icy blue irises which shone with a harsh understanding, and purple hair which reached all the way to his waists. The man was mystically dressed in a pair of sizable shoulder pads, a v-neck collared and long-sleeved robe, and a pair of boots. Lastly; the man was armed with a green-blue staff. “...allow me to introduce myself as well. I am Hakuryū, the Druid of the Arcanian Forest. It’s a real pleasure to meet a man that can defeat a deathsire,”

“And I’m Riku Xanthe; the Last of the Majin,” said the second of the two among the four people that Decaden did not recognize. Riku was a flawless example of the athletic perfection that men tend to imagine themselves to be. He was as tall as can be, lean to the point where he was completely and utterly devoid of any excess fat, and muscular to the point where he exhibited eight-packed abs! As for his general appearance rather than his athleticism; Riku was well-tanned, sported shoulder-length hair which was a lustrous blonde that put even the shiniest of gold to shame, met others gazes with a pair of oceanically blue eyes. Riku wore a cowboy hat with goggles wrapped around its top, a red bandana around his neck, a brown duster, a black wristband around his left wrist, a pair of black gloves, a bandolier around his smexy chest, a pair of white pants, and a pair of riding boots. Riku was armed with an ornate shotgun; however, the impressive condition of Riku’s body made it blatantly clear that the shotgun was more of a prop than an actual weapon. “Well, technically, I’m an infernal. But after the Marines won the Phoenix War and betrayed the Zacchaeus Clan, I can’t help but to consider the Majin in me to be a lot more important than the Coronan in me. Especially since I just might be the last person with so much as a portion of Majin blood!”

“Majestic T. Decaden,” said Decaden as he tried to figure out what Bobby, Hakuryū, Riku, and Solaire could have in store for him.

“D-D-Decaden? THE DECADEN?” exclaimed Solaire with dilated pupils. “The king-turned mercenary who dyna-stoned his former country in response to it being converted from a tourist attraction into an amusement park of death traps for political dissidents?”

“The one-and-only,” shamelessly admitted Decaden. While Decaden may not have been proud of his role in his homeland’s destruction, Decaden was not ashamed of his role. If Decaden had not gotten rid of Aspara, House — its conqueror at the time — would have continued to abuse it as a place where he tortured those whom dared to stand against the military junta that currently reigned in place of the World Government.

“You scumbag! How can you talk about the destruction of your homeland in such a casual manner?” snarled Riku.

“If I am a scumbug; than you, a man who murdered his very own twin brother, are a douchebag! That’s right! A douchebag! A total douchebag!” spat Decaden in response. Subsequently; Decaden and Riku locked their eyes onto the other’s eyes, glared into one another’s soul…

...and then burst into laughter.

“Let’s be real here, Aspara needed to be destroyed. That was a mercy kill,” snickered Riku.

“And your brother was a brainwashed asshole! That mind-controlled bastard needed to die!” giggled Decaden.

“Regardless, you’ve got some balls on you!” laughed Riku an instant before Decaden and him took a firm hold of each other’s right hand.

“As do you!” chuckled Decaden. For a reason he could not understand, Hakuryū shivered at the sight of Decaden and Riku getting along with one another. As a matter of fact, Hakuryū shivered TWICE at the fact that DECADEN AND RIKU WERE GETTING ALONG WITH ONE ANOTHER!

“Either way…” said Hakuryū with a third shiver at the fact that Decaden and Riku were getting along with one another. “...we should get to the business at hand,”

“Indeed!” agreed Bobby and Solaire in unison with one another.

“Fine then. We’ll get down to business!” relented Riku as Decaden and him released one another’s right hand. “Decaden, we’d like for you to join our cause!”

“That depends on the cause,” asserted Decaden.

“It’s a pretty simple cause. We KILL Oca Aronne!” elaborated Hakuryū with a shrug.

“Oh dear,” thought Decaden. He needed Oca Aronne to get to the Ebon Raptor. These guys wanted to kill Oca Aronne. Either the Ebon Raptor was not the end game, or these guys were his enemies rather than his allies.

“Aronne turned my forest into a death tra...” started Hakuryū before...

“It’s NOT a death trap!” ...Bobby and Solaire interrupted him.

“... a hellhole. Aronne turned my forest into a hellhole in order to protect himself from his enemies,” finished Hakuryū with a sweatdrop.

“Aronne was the one who was brainwashing people for the World Government before the World Government was overthrown by the Marines. Aronne is the man who warped my brother into the rabid dog that I had to put down!” growled Riku with clenched fists.

“And he owes the two of us five dollars!” snapped Bobby.

“Each!” added Solaire.

“What kind of monster is this Oca Aronne‽ Didn’t his parents teach him to pay off his debts?” snapped Decaden with a slam of his fist into the wall.

“The worst kind,” sneered Riku with a retch. “All four of us have major grievances against Oca Aronne. However…”

“...the forest is a death trap!” snapped Hakuryū before Bobby and Solaire could interject. “The plants have been corrupted into monsters, it’s filled to the brim with naught but the most psychotic of Marines, the wildlife has become WORSE than they were before...”

“...and Oca Aronne is NOT a weakling,” sighed Riku with a shake of his head. “None of us four could so much as DREAM of defeating him, but a man that defeated a deathsire…”

“..MAY JUST STAND A CHANCE!” screamed Hakuryū with clenched fists.

“We have what it takes to get through the forest and all of its dangers, but we do not have a champion who can defeat Oca Aronne!” explained Bobby.

“You beat a deathsire with your BARE HANDS! There is NO question about whether or not you can champion us against Oca Aronne!” added Solaire.

“Decadon!” yelled Riku.

“Please!” begged Hakuryū.

“Be,” asked Bobby.

“Our,” continued Solair.

“HERO!” finished the four of them with each other.

“This stone will be made by you; in memory of your friends,”

“I don’t have any friends. I Never did and I never will!”

“You did, you’re doing, and you do. Once again; all at once,”

“Is this what he meant when he said you do? Are these the friends that he said I would have?” thought Decaden as he contemplated what was being asked of him and then made his decision.

“No,” answered Decadon with a shake of his head. “I will not be your hero…”

“...but rather, I will be your friend!”

...[]

“This forest is our bitch, so we will fuck her as we please!” screamed Solaire as Bobby, Decaden, Hakuryū, Riku, and her begun their operation with style. In other words, the five of them set off as many explosives as they possibly could! Throughout the entirety of the Arcanian Forest, geysers of fireworks arose into the sky and then descended upon the Arcanian Forest as a rain of fireballs rather than droplets of water. As the Arcanian Forest was devastated by fires from below and above, Bobby, Decaden, Hakuryū, Riku, and Solaire begun their march towards the fallen lighthouse. Because the Arcanian Forest was pretty much a firestorm by this point, next to none of the Arcanian Forest’s plants were in a position to attack Bobby, Decaden, Hakuryū, Riku, and Solaire.

“Please don’t talk about my forest like that,” sighed Hakuryū at Solaire’s vulgar choice of words. Solaire giggled at Hakuryū’s innocent discomfort with her vulgarity and then flashed Hakuryū a coquettish grin. Hakuryū couldn’t help but to blush at the sight of Solaire’s grin; consequently, Bobby and Solaire begun to mischievously subject the demure Hakuryū to a myriad of flirtatious gestures. “A-a-and please s-s-stop giving me those l-l-looks!”

“Focus ladies!” insisted Riku as Bobby, Decaden, Hakuryū, Solaire and him crossed from the completely dry forest into the completely flooded swamp. Because its flora were drenched, the swamp had not been as thoroughly ignited as the forest had. Consequently, it wasn’t long before Bobby, Decaden, Hakuryū, Riku, and Solaire were assaulted by vines which had razor-sharp thorns along their surface. Before any of the other four were able to respond to the vines’ assault, Hakuryū glowered at the vines and then evoked the power of his devil fruit.

“Broom Broom Fruit!” called Hakuryū an instant before he leapt into the air and then literally rode the wind into a blade which effortlessly bisected the vines that dared to assault him and his friends. In response to the destruction of their vines, the swamp’s trees coalesced into humanoid shape and then angrily roared at Hakuryū and the other four.

“Trees can do that?” asked Bobby at the sight of the trees coalescence.

“When they’re under the influence of Oca Aronne? Yes. Yes they can,” answered Hakuryū as he dropped onto the submerged ground and then began to twirl his staff about himself. “Don’t bother yourself with this monstrosity. I am in charge of this forest, so it’s my responsibility to pull out the weeds! Leave this guy to me! Go on ahead! Get Oca Aronne and kick his butt!”

“Be careful!” ordered Riku as Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and him continued the march towards the lighthouse. Needless to say; the trees had no intention of simply allowing Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and Riku to bypass it. The trees raised their arm into the air in preparation for an attempt to simply flatten Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and Riku. However, before the tree could begin to lower its arm, Hakuryū kicked a large quantity of water into a whirling blade which effortlessly sawed the trees’ raised arm off of their body! The trees gawked at the ease at which Hakuryū managed to deprive them of an arm and then focused all of their attention upon Hakuryū and Hakuryū alone. Hakuryū smirked at the trees and then leapt at the trees with his staff raised overhead.

“Do you think he’ll be alright?” asked Bobby as Decaden, Solaire, Riku, and her trudged through the muddy and now tree-less swamp. However, while the swamp may have currently been devoid of its trees, it was not devoid of its shrubbery. Thankfully, the bushes were far too busy combating marines to pay any amount of attention to Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and Riku.

“Hakuryū is strong,” asserted Riku as he grimaced at the sight of a marine being impaled by the branches of a briar. “He’ll be fine,”

“You’re going to wish…” heard Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and Riku an instant before the four of them were blown away from each other by the sudden appearance of an explosion amongst them. Immediately after, Decaden jumped to his feet and caught sight of Bobby, Solaire, Riku and his assaultee. Glaring at Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and Riku with hate-filled eyes was a samurai-esque android named Nines. And at Nines’ side was a giant of a man named Bazuso Ironclad. With a raygun which was situated within the confines of its mouth; Nines prepared to laser Bobby, Decaden, Solaire, and Riku for the second time. “...that the same could be said of you!”

“We’re not criminals!” Decaden blatantly lied. Or rather, Decaden attempted such a lie but failed to prevent himself from bursting into laughter at the mere thought of telling such an obvious lie. Unfortunately for Decaden, Nines unfortunately his mirth as a sign of mockery. Consequently, Nines angrily took aim at Decaden and Decaden alone. In response to Nines re-focus upon him and him alone, Decaden considered making an attempt to rush Nines before Nines managed to re-fire its laser. However, before Decaden managed to come to a decision, Bobby positioned herself between Decaden and Nines. “Bobby?”

“Solaire and I will handle these two!” asserted Bobby as Nines beamed its laser at her. Much to Decaden and Nines’s surprised, Bobby managed to deflect the laser with naught but her wrist. Bobby deflected a freaking laser beam with her wrist.

“Impressi-” was all Nines got to say before Solaire was upon it with a midair, spinning kick which knocked it into more than just a few skips across the surface of the swamp’s waters. Subsequently, Solaire was sucker punched by Bazuso whom proceeded to be caught in a Full Nelson by Bobby.

“Go!” screamed Bobby as she suplexed Bazuso with enough force to embed Bazuso’s head into the ground. Decaden was about to go assist Bobby and Solaire, but Decaden was pulled away from the two girls by Riku.

“We have other fish to fry!” claimed Riku as he grabbed one of Decaden’s hands and then forced Decaden into pressing onward. Eventually, Decaden resolved to continue the journey to the lighthouse as well. At that time, Riku released Decaden’s hand. Not long after Riku did so, Decaden and him were assaulted by marines and plants alike. Without stopping their approach towards the lighthouse; Riku and Decaden punched, kicked, and shot their way through scores of anyone and anything that dared to get in their way. Frighteningly, Riku and Decaden were like bowling balls while their obstacles were like bowling pins. As soon as the obstacles crossed Riku and Decaden’s path, the obstacles were violently removed from that path.

Eventually, Riku and Decaden crossed from the swamp into a grassy plain. In the very middle of the plain, Riku and Decaden could very clearly see the fallen lighthouse. Strangely, in stark contrast to the forest and the swamp, the plain was not inhabited by swarms of threats. Instead, the plain was occupied by naught but a single creature. Said creature was a hairless jackal with the posture of a human, a tyrian purple complexion, and a prehensile tail. The creature was dressed in an Ancient Egypt-esque getup and was seated upon the fallen lamphouse with a bored expression on its face. At the sight of Riku and Decaden, the creature bared its teeth and curled its lips into a manic grin.

“Challengers,” noted Typhos with a shiver of ecstasy. Without any further ado, Typhos leapt from the lighthouse into a flight towards Riku and Decaden. At the sight of Typhos’ approach, Riku nodded at Decaden and handed Decaden a longsword that he managed to pilfer from a marine. After Decaden nodded back at him, Riku burst into a sprint towards Typhos and then met a right hook from Typhos with a right hook of his own. Much to Decaden’s awe, the impact between Riku and Typhos’ fists caused the ground beneath Riku and Typhos to crater. Subsequently, Riku followed his right hook with a flurry of left straights. However, much to Riku’s consternation, Typhos avoided all of Riku’s left straights with naught but twists of his neck and turns of his head. With a roar of frustration, Riku erupted his right hand into an uppercut. With mocking suave, Typhos back-stepped the uppercut with a playful skip…

...yet Typhos still found himself being struck! Several of Typhos teeth flew out of his maw as he was inexplicably knocked into the air. Immediately afterward, Riku took flight in order to re-assume his assault upon Typhos.

“Sorry, but I ate the Orora Orora no Mi! So what you see is not always what you’re going to get!” bragged Riku as he threw his left leg into a roundhouse kick at Typhos, yet somehow managed to strike Typhos from the right rather than the left!

“It looks like Riku can take care of himself,” noted Decaden as he turned away from the fight between Riku and Typhos and made his way to the fallen lighthouse. Because he was too lazy to search for the lighthouse’s entrance, Decaden used the side of his newfound sword’s blade to simply smash his way into the fallen lighthouse! As the smashed portion of the fallen lighthouse’s wall crumbled to the ground, Decaden skid into the fallen lighthouse with his longsword at the ready.

“Oca Aronne!” called Decaden as he spotted a chair which was being dangled in midair by ropes. Ropes which were each tied to the fallen lighthouse’s staircase. Seated in the aforementioned chair was a young man with an ochre complexion, sleek hair which was both a chalky white and combed into being slickly flat, and silver eyes with beauty which had long-since been tainted by an ugly degree of perversity. The young man wore a tie around his neck like a work-out towel, a suit coat over a collared and long-sleeved shirt, a pair of suit pants, and a pair of dress shoes. In the young man’s right hand was an oversized handgun named the Obelus Googolplexian, and in the young man’s left hand was an equally oversized handgun named the Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

“Man-eating plants, ferocious monsters, those incompetently murderous marines, and Typhos himself…” murmured the young man an instant before he begun to shine with images. Decaden couldn’t help but to fearfully back away from the young man in response to the fact that the young man was currently radiating images of him torturously murdering people of all species, races, and ages! At the sight of a few of the images that were appearing around the man, Decaden was unable to prevent himself from vomiting to the point where he dropped onto his knees. “...personal intervention, what does a man need to have in order to convince people to leave him to his work‽”

“Work?” asked Decaden as he used his longsword as an aid in pushing himself back onto his feet. After he rubbed his mouth free of vomit, Decaden steeled himself and then braved the sight of the young man and the terrible images that the young man was projecting around himself.

“Yes. Work,” said the young man with a snap of his finger. Not long after, naked women began to drop from above. Decaden blushed at the women’s nudity and then brandished his sword in preparation for combat with the women. Much to Decaden’s confusion, each of the women looked as if she was an identical sibling to ALL of the other women. Each of the women was a green-eyed redhead with a sizable bust. However, there were at least a 100 of the women! It was not possible for all of the women to be whatever-lets with each other. Or at the very least; Decaden really, really, REALLY wished that such a thing was not possible. “I used to personally craft them; but I have found that it’s more efficient to simply have my trees recycle my enemies into them,”

“The trees. They don’t digest the people they eat. They…” softly murmured Decaden as he slowly-but-surely registered the young man’s words. Eventually, Decaden was forced to resist an urge to vomit. As soon as Decaden managed to suppress the aforementioned urge, Decaden gave the young man the fiercest glare that he could muster. “YOU’RE DISGUSTING!”

“I am Oca Aronne!” exclaimed the young man as he dropped from his chair and then landed on the ground. “And I am your only hope, so I suggest you watch your mouth!”

“My hope?” asked Decaden with an inquisitive raise of his eyebrow.

“Indeed, for do you not wish to board the Ebon Raptor?” asked Oca Aronne as he gestured for his women to line themselves along the wall of the fallen lighthouse. Decaden shivered at the robotic obedience of the women and then hardened his glare. “For do you not wish to find the Prophecy of the Godsend and earn that big, juicy, cash reward? Is that not why you’re here?”

“I’m just a mercenary! Nothing more and nothing less! My interests lie in money, not any of this Bu-Ruriko!”

“I will be your friend!”

“I don’t have any friends. I never did and I never will!”

“Decadon!”

“Please!”

“Be,”

“Our,”

“HERO!”

“You seek the Prophecy of the Godsend. No. It’s more like you seek the beli…”

"So, what does one do if someone were to change the past and thereby create a terrible future?”

“You change the past back to the way it was before, by changing the future!”

"EVERY FUTURE EXCEPT THIS ONE!”

“This one future, that’ll change the past and set things right!”

“I’m just a mercenary!”

“I do not want any trouble, so come! I will take you to the Ebon Raptor. You get your money, and I get my peace and quiet. Now-” was all Oca Aronne got to say before his left cheek was lacerated by a flash. Oca Aronne blinked and then realized that the flash had been Decaden’s longsword. Decaden had thrown it at him like a javelin. With perfect accuracy. “...is that your answer?”

“I don’t know the question, so how could I know the answer?” grumbled Decaden with a sigh of exasperation. “I know I came here for the money, but I think I came here for a past that used to be. I’m torn here. Am I a mercenary, or am I a friend? Is this just a job, or is it a plan that I orchestrated in order to save my friends? The friends that I made, or the friends that I used to have? Is this the past of a brighter future, the present of a changed past, the promising future of a darker present, or all three? Is this the beginning, or is it the end? I don’t know, but what I DO know…”

“...but what I do know is that you are butcher, corrupter, murderer, polluter, rapist, slaver, and you didn’t pay back those FIVE dollars! Why I am here DOES NOT MATTER! Because you are EVIL! And you need to DIE!” screamed Decaden as he exploded with the Color of the Conquering King! Oca Aronne couldn’t help but to drop his mouth into a gape as ALL of his women were IMMEDIATELY knocked unconscious by the sheer force behind Decaden’s literally kingly will.

“Well, fuck you too!” spat Oca Aronne as he brandished the Hippo Gun and the Obelus…

“Nope. No can do,”

...and then had the both of them snatched out of his hands by the ferryman!

“Who are YOU‽” exclaimed/asked Oca Aronne as the ferryman landed from a lunge into a skid along the fallen lighthouse’s ground. As he came to a stop next to Decaden, the Ferryman caused the both of Oca Aronne’s guns to vanish into thin air.

“Me? I’m just his employee,” answered the ferryman with a shrug and a tip of his hat. “And a man who doesn’t take kindly to time travelers. Especially when they stop a person from being born JUST because the person got in the way of them stealing a gift for their beloved,”

“So YOU’RE the mastermind?” growled Oca Aronne.

“Me? Nope. I’m just an employee. He’s the boss,” re-asserted the ferryman with yet another shrug. “Now. Go get him, boss man!”

“WITH PLEASURE!” laughed Decaden as he charged Oca Aronne with his fists at the ready. Oca Aronne yanked at his hair in frustration and then burst into a sprint towards the charging Decaden. Neither Decaden nor Oca Aronne were specialist in hand-to-hand combat. Decaden preferred swordplay and bazookas, while Oca Aronne preferred handguns and minions. Consequently, the inevitable clash between Decaden and Oca Aronne was not an exhibition of martial arts. Instead, it was a brawl. Plain and simple.

Decaden was the first to attack. With an overhead punch, Decaden struck Oca Aronne in the face and thereby knocked Oca Aronne to the ground. Immediately afterward, Decaden withdrew his bazooka and then slammed the barrel of his bazooka onto the fallen Oca Aronne’s face. Decaden was about to immediately pull the trigger of his bazooka, but Decaden blinked an instant before he was about to do so. Subsequently much to Decaden’s confusion, he suddenly found himself opening his eyes to the sight of him being approached by Oca Aronne.

“H-h-huh?” thought Decaden as he threw an overhead punch at Oca Aronne; however, Oca Aronne leaned away from the punch and then counterattacked with a straight punch of his right hand. The straight struck Decaden in the face with enough force to send Decaden skidding away from Oca Aronne. Decaden grimaced as blood began to leak from his now-broken nose and then directed a glower at the now-smirking Oca Aronne. As his skid came to a halt, Decaden contemplated the exchange that he just loss to Oca Aronne.

“If the past were to be changed, the present would change in turn. What you do in the present, will determine the future. And if you change the future, you change the past. That’s the cycle. The past shapes the present, the present dictates the future, and the future influences the past;”

“The past shapes the present. I punched him because we charged one another. The present dictates the future. Me punching him is the reason why I was in a position to finish him off. And the future influences the past. He has foresight, so his past self was able to see that his future self was killed by me. That past him was influenced by the future him, and history changed as a result of that influence! This bastard…” growled Decaden to himself as he threw himself at Oca Aronne. “...this bastard is fighting in the past, the present, and the future; all at the same time!”

“Anyone with a non-linear Color of Observation has no chance of being defeated by someone who is restricted to a linear Color of Observation,” gloated Oca Aronne as Decaden and him met one another with headbutss. While Oca Aronne was grimacing from the pain of the headbutt, Decaden wasted no time in following up on his headbutt with a roundhouse kick. The heel of Decaden’s boot struck Oca Aronne’s face with enough force to break Oca Aronne’s neck; however, it wasn’t long before Decaden inexplicably found himself re-attempting to headbutt Oca Aronne. This time around, Oca Aronne met Decaden’s headbutt with a knee which knocked Decaden back-flipping away from Oca Aroone. “Whenever I make a mistake, I can simply place myself in a position of peril as a means of informing my past self about that mistake. Afterward, my past self will correct my mistake and that position of peril would have never occurred!”

“Bu-ruriko!” snarled Decaden as he crashed onto the ground and then pushed himself onto his feet with a mouthful of his order bubbles. Subsequently, Decaden swallowed the bubbles and then bum-rushed Oca Aronne. Before Oca Aronne managed to finish a blink, Decaden was upon Oca Aronne with a flurry of punches. Decaden punched, and punched, and punched, and punched! Decaden punched until he could punch no more! By the time Decaden stopped punching, there was little — if anything — left of Oca Aronne to punch. As he desperately gasped for the air that his body needed to support his surplus of cells, Decaden couldn’t help but to blink. Unfortunately for Decaden, as soon as he re-opened his eyes from his blink, he found that he once again was swallowing a mouthful of his order bubbles.

“Transcendency!” laughed Oca Aronne an instant before he used his will to both blacken and spike his hair and visibly blacken his veins. Subsequently, Decaden bum-rushed Oca Aronne and then assaulted Oca Aronne with a flurry of punches. Unfortunately for Decaden, Oca Aronne both deflected each of his punches and responded to each of his punches with a punch of his own. Before long, Oca Aronne was the one on the offensive and Decaden was the one on the defensive.

“Temporally, I’m a two-dimensional fighter against a three-dimensional one! I can fight in the present and I can see the future. But this bastard can fight in the past, see the future, and change the past!” grunted Decaden as he side-stepped a haymaker from Oca Aronne and then powerfully kneed Oca Aronne’s stomach with enough force to make Oca Aronne vomit a supermajority of his internal organs. Subsequently, to no surprise to Decaden, Decaden found himself nearly breaking his knee against a stomach which was reinforced by Oca Aronne’s will. Decaden staggered away from Oca Aronne who quickly closed the distance between Decaden and him and then struck Decaden’s pretty face with a one-two combo of razor-sharp punches! It was at this time that Decaden had little to no choice but to end the Bubbleman. At the sight of the Bubbleman’s cessation, Oca Aronne smirked and then ended his Transcendency.

“Are we done here?” asked Oca Aronne as he victoriously stood over a Decaden whom had fallen to his knees.

“So, what does one do if someone were to change the past and thereby create a terrible future?”

“No!” yelled Decaden an instant before he sprung into punch which struck the dead center of Oca Aronne’s chest. As Oca Aronne was doubled over by Decaden’s punch, Decaden rose to his feet and then opened his spiritual eyes as wide as he could get them! “This is NOT over!”

“You never give-” was all Oca Aronne got to say before Decaden clotheslined him into an innumerable amount of flips and then back-flipped into stomping him into the ground! Oca Aronne expected his past self to negate the damage that Decaden had just inflicted upon him, but no such negation came to past! “W-w-what is going on here‽”

“Because I REFUSE to become a fiction!” continued Decaden as he kicked Oca Aronne into a stand for the sole purpose of allowing him to break Oca Aronne’s nose with a punch to Oca Aronne’s face. “And you WILL NOT ESCAPE YOUR FATE!”

“H-h-how can this be?” spluttered Oca Aronne as he re-activated his Transcendency and then opened his spiritual eyes. As he sent Decaden flying with a punch to Decaden’s gut, Oca Aronne began to tremble in fear of the sight that was before his spiritual eyes. “He is preventing my past self from seeing the future, but fictionalizing the future into the past! He’s not fictionalizing a single future like most users of the Color of Observation. But rather, he is fictionalizing ALL of the futures!”

“If you refuse to simply acquiesce to the destiny that has been assigned to you…” grunted Decaden as he ricocheted off the ceiling of the fallen lighthouse and into a dive towards Oca Aronne. As he neared Oca Aronne, Decaden re-entered the Bubbleman with the intent of finishing Oca Aronne off. Once and for all! “...then I’ll simply have to destroy ALL of your alternatives! EVERY LAST ONE!”

“With the Color of Observation, one changes the future by fictionalizing the future that one does not want to happen. Or in your case, no, our case; one fictionalizes EVERY FUTURE EXCEPT THIS ONE!”

“This one future, that’ll change the past and set things right!”

“W-w-wait!” begged Oca Aronne an instant before Decaden literally flattened him with a punch. A punch which cratered the entirety of the fallen lighthouse and quaked the entirety of Arcania. As soon as Decaden punched Oca Aronne, Decaden felt things begin to change. No. That wasn’t right. Decaden didn’t feel things begin to change. He felt them begin to revert. Revert back to the way they were before. Decaden eradicated every other alternative that Oca Aronne had, so when Oca Aronne decides to change the past, he will see no future but this one. This future where he is slain by Decaden. It should go without saying, that the Oca Aronne of the past would not accept this future. So the Oca Aronne of the past will not change time and thus this future will never come to be. Thus, by changing the future into this future, the original Decaden changed the past created by Oca Aronne.

“I guess it's time I took him to the Ebon Raptor...again,” murmured the ferryman as he took his leave of Arcania. Under normal circumstances, people are recreated when their past is changed. However, the ferryman — whom is more commonly known as John Jango De Triezieme — was an abnormal circumstances. For John Jango was time itself. And time, doesn't take kindly to time travelers. Not. At. All.

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