Recently I've been really into the Campione fanon, there are some really good crossovers in it, like for instance Marcus Galen Sands amazing story "God Slaying Blade Works", and so, after some though and consideration, I decided to give it a go myself.
While thinking about what other work to make it a crossover with my mind immediately went to Wildbow's masterpiece "Worm". The ending of which would fit magnificently with the Campione universe, what with Taylor having just slayed a God-like being and being on the verge of death, Contessa's meddling tendencies and Doormaker ability to access alternate earths.
This was the end result; I hope you all enjoy it.
Timeline wise the story will take place after the very ending of 'Arc 30: Speck' of Worm serial and 'Volume Five: Miko of the Sword' of Campione.
"Supernatural Beings/Heretic Gods/ Authorities/ Spells"
Mandatory disclaimer: I do not own "Campione!" or "Worm Serial".
You Either Die a Hero…
If her slowly unraveling mind was still able to comprehend such feelings Taylor knew that she would be flooded with an equal mix of elation, satisfaction, disgust and despair at her own actions.
Scion had finally been defeated. After ravaging through dozens of worlds, killing millions of innocents, slaughtering thousands of parahumans, the Entity had been finally brought low.
The Golden-morning was finally over.
And yet the price had been astronomical, not only to humanity as a whole, but to her specifically as well, for in order to defeat said monster, she had willingly turned into a monster herself.
Taylor Hebert was all but dead, her consciousness slowly but surely being consumed by the changes she had willingly imposed unto her own body, until nothing but Khepri would remain, the unfeeling monstrosity that had enslaved thousands, stripping them of their free will in order to use them as mere pawns in the battle against the great enemy.
She knew she could not remain, not for her own safety, but for theirs. For if she were to remain, it would be but a matter of time until she became just as great a threat to all as the very being she had sought to destroy.
A matter of time until the young girl that had dreamed of being a hero was utterly gone and nothing but a monster remained in her place.
An unfeeling tyrant bending all to her will, uncaring for their wishes and dreams, seeking only the path of greatest optimization to what she believed was the best for humanity.
She refused to allow such an situation to occur, to impose such a future upon the world, and so with an final exertion of her will she ordered one of her pawns to open a portal to another dimension, an Earth in which humanity had never developed, a deserted planet where there would be no one to fall under the thrall of her powers.
Stepping into the rocky terrain of a mountain she gazed at this world's setting sun, the closing portal behind her severing her link to the army she had commanded with finality, she knew it wouldn't be long now.
This was the path she had chosen, the burden she had willingly accepted, for in her heart she knew there was no other way.
Even as she heard the footsteps suddenly appearing right behind her as if out of nowhere, she did not turn around, there was no need, she knew perfectly well who it was that had just arrived, and even with her fractured mind she knew what was her intent.
She felt as Contessa entered her range, and for a brief moment she felt a smothering urge to take control of the unbelievably powerful Thinker.
And in that final moment that preluded her ending, a small treacherous part of her mind lurched forward, rebelling against her self imposed fate.
'Why should we give everything up? Time and again those in power had shown their incompetency, their inability to do what had to be done! Why shouldn't we rule them if that would mean the betterment for all?! We succeeded where all others had failed! We could guide them with our vision,our powers!Why shouldn't we take what is rightfully ours!?'
With a supernatural exertion of what little remained of her consciousness, of what had once defined the young girl known as Taylor Hebert, she crushed that growing train of thought down with all her will, knowing it to be the very influence she had come here to escape from.
With the now swiftly fracturing remains of her mind she knew she would be unable to hold it back for long, that, as things stood, it would be but a matter of moments before she was all but lost and only Khepri remained, but she also knew she only had to do it for a couple moments longer.
She heard the clicking of the gun's hammer being pulled back, and in that last moment, as her tired eyes took in the setting sun in this barren earth, she held firm, her resolve unshakable.
She had given her all in order to take down Scion, and now, it was time to give what little was left.
For that was the path of a hero.
"Thank you, and good luck." She heard her executioner say as the gun fired twice.
A slight feeling of confusion entered her mind upon hearing those words, pondering their meaning even as the two bullets hit the back of her head and darkness overtook her.
But as she fell to the ground her last feeling was not of her body hitting the harsh rocky terrain of the mountainous landscape, but the swift passage of air all around her, as if she was falling through a long deep tunnel…
Taylor could feel a soft comfortable surface beneath her head, and even in her half awake state she couldn't help but feel surprised by the fact, since she had assumed she wouldn't feel anything else ever again.
"This is extremely irregular you know." A motherly voice, undeniably youthful and yet somehow old beyond belief, resounded through her mind, awakening her from her stupor.
"It has truly been quite some time since I've last faced such a conundrum." The speaker continued in a cheerful tone of voice.
Taylor felt a sudden bout of befuddlement at the other's words, unable to understand what the voice was talking about, the fact she was fairly certain she had been just shot in the head only adding to her growing bewilderment at her current situation.
"In one hand He wasn't exactly a Heretic God; not to mention that you did not slay Him by yourself."
But before she could try and discern what exactly was happening small delicate hands started massaging her scalp, their nimble fingers gently combing through her long hair in such a way that she could not help but sigh in contentment.
"But in the other, He had more than enough power that there is basically no difference between Him and the real deal; and it's indubitable that it was your actions and ultimately your sacrifice that allowed Him to be slain."
The woman continued, a wondering tone entering her caring voice.
"To sacrifice everything you had and everything you were; your family, your name, your morals, your future, your power, your life, even your very sense of self, all so that others could live on."
"Knowing that you would receive no praise for your actions; that the world would see you as a monster not unlike the one you had set to destroy, and yet you did not falter, keeping true to yourself and your ideals to the bitter end. How could one's heart not be touched by such a tale?"
She could tell that what was being said pertained to her fate, and yet no matter how hard she tried she couldn't move an inch, couldn't escape the comforting warmness that seemed to be permeating her very being.
"Very well, I've decided! Such grand actions are worth of recompense, and so I Pandora, the all giving woman, the witch who brought forward all evils of this world and a shred of hope, claim this child as my newest daughter!"
The woman's words were accompanied by a mindless bellow of incomprehensible rage resounding from the distance, a wordless proclamation of pure fury and undiluted anger, a primordial sound that no natural being should be able to make.
But Taylor paid no mind to the otherworldly sound, for upon hearing those words she had felt a feeling of longing spark deep within her heart, a feeling she hadn't felt in years, and so she focused all her remaining strength into slowly opening her eyes.
"Rage all you want, I've made my choice." Pandora proclaimed amidst her bell like laughter, her gentle hands cradling Taylor's form. "Let everyone present grant their blessings and their hatred to this child! The eight Campione, please bestow the sacred spell words upon this child!"
After what felt like eternity she felt her eyes open and managed to gaze at the one speaking. A young caring face framed by long light purple hair, a small gentle smile filled with pride, and a pair of purple eyes brimming full of motherly love.
"By the black art I and Epimetheus left behind, this is a sacred birth of an illegitimate child, shrouded in darkness, born of a fool and a witch. A secret of usurpation only made possible through the sacrifice of a God."
She finally recognized the feeling pooling within her chest, and with a supreme effort of will she opened her mouth to ask the question that had lodged itself into her hazy mind.
"I grant you my blessing's Taylor Hebert, so that you may be reborn as the new God-slayer, King of Kings, Campione."
"…Mom?" She managed to finally ask, her eyes locked within Pandora's proud gaze.
"Good luck, my child." The all giving woman said as she laid a gentle kiss upon Taylor's forehead while all around them the world dissolved into white mist.
A thrumming of power reverberated throughout the world for but a single moment, as if a single beat of a truly titanic heart resonating through the earth and the sky, announcing to all those with the senses to understand the world for what it truly was what had just happened.
A beautiful black haired woman amidst the wilderness of China stopped her daily training routine to look to the west, a pleased light entering her fierce gaze as she pondered what had just happened.
A old looking man sitting in a throne inside his castle high upon the Balkans turned his head to the south, a large predatory smile slowly emerging from his features at the possibilities this presented.
A blond haired man calmly eating at a café in Italy let out a pleased hum even as he continued to savor the shortcake before him, his features all but radiating contentment at what he had just sensed.
A mid-eastern woman stopped in surprise midstride, her body halfway through an open portal, her eyes shining with curiosity at the meaning of what she had just felt as she gazed to the west.
A black haired youth rummaging through the secure vaults of an organization not his own stopped for a moment to gaze towards the south, frowning at what this turn of events could ultimately mean to his plans.
A masked hero calmly patrolling her city halted on her tracks atop the rooftops of Los Angeles, her head turning to the south-east before, with a small nod of acknowledgment, she restarted her route.
A black haired Japanese youth suddenly jolted himself awake from the half slumbering state he had been in as his history teacher drone on and on about something, his eyes looking to the west while a look of confusion appeared upon his features.
All around the world a fact was acknowledged with trepidation and awe, fear and reverence, praise and loathing; the fact that a mortal had just done the impossible, that a God had just been slayed.
That one of Pandora's children had just been born.
Taylor awoke with a start, the rough feeling of sand beneath her body only speeding her swift return into wakefulness.
She felt as if something extremely important had just happened, but she could not tell what, her memories foggy and indistinct. All she could remember was a pair of proud motherly eyes and a feeling of utter contentment, a feeling she had not experienced in years, not since her mother had passed away.
Her feeling of confusion was only increased as she took in her surroundings, a feeling that was not helped in the least by the fact that an unhelpful part of her mind kept insisting she should be dead.
Looking at the sea of sand billowing all around her she wasted a moment wondering where the hell she could be, or why exactly she was still alive for that matter.
She remembered allowing Contessa free reign to shot her in head in order to not allow herself to become a danger to the world, to stop the unthinking monstrosity she was slowly turning into, and yet she now felt inexplicably fine.
More than fine in fact, for as she slowly caressed the back of her head with her hands, searching for the entry wounds she knew should be there, she realized she had never felt better, not even after being healed by Panacea had she ever felt so well.
Her musings where brought short upon realizing that her right arm that had been ripped off during the battle was whole once again, and that even thought she wasn't wearing her glasses her eyes could see perfectly well. Point in fact her lithe athletic frame appeared to be fitter and healthier than ever before.
It was as if every wound she had ever suffered, no matter how small or insignificant, had been healed as if they had never happened, while simultaneously her body had been enhanced past the very uppermost limits of the human condition.
"What are you playing at Contessa?" She murmured to herself as she slowly took in the prime condition of her body.
She knew that the fact she was still alive was due to the Thinker's meddling, it was the only explanation to how she was still drawing breath after being shot twice in the back of her head by that very same Thinker.
Now that she stopped to think about it, the fact she had been apparently dumped in the middle of a desert was also most likely her fault too.
And it was as she mused at what her survival could possibly mean to Contessa's ever precious 'Path' that with a start she realized something, or more precisely the absence of something.
She could not feel the growing insanity that had been plaguing her thoughts, the maddening urge that had haunted her footsteps. Point in fact she could not feel even the faintest whispers of her Master ability, and considering the fact she could clearly see a scorpion skittering upon the next dune over she knew that it was not for a lack of targets within her range.
For the first time in quite some time her mind was utterly clear, with nothing but her own thoughts reverberating insider her brain.
Sudden realization filled her as she added her apparent sudden lack of powers with her supposed murderer last actions.
"You got to be kidding me?!" She shouted out loud as she concluded that somehow, the Thinker had apparently managed to do what amounted to a brain surgery with a freaking handgun.
She knew Contessa's 'Path to Victory' was the very pinnacle of all overpowered bullshit abilities, but even then there should be limits to such absurdity. And yet, she could not deny the fact that that was apparently exactly what had just happened, that somehow the Thinker had managed to remove her Corona Polentia and Gemma with a pair of freakily precise gun shots.
She wasted a moment mourning the loss of her powers, dreading being suddenly helpless after years as a parahuman, but that feeling was suddenly swiped aside as she realized that it also meant she was no longer a danger to others, that she could live on.
That Khepri was no more.
A small hopeful smile entering her features she gathered herself and started to climb the tallest dune in sight in order to gather her bearings and hopefully find some sign of civilization.
But even amidst her growing happiness she could not help but notice and odd feeling in the back of her mind, as if words were being whispered just at the edge of her hearing range, as if a wellspring of power had suddenly been lodged deep within her very soul.
So here we have the first chapter.
For those not familiar with the Worm-verse Contessa possesses a mental power, aka Thinker power, called 'Path to Victory'. As the name implies, upon deciding upon a goal she can comprehend her power gives her a step by step instruction in how to achieve said goal, therefore ensuring her victory.
In this story after using Taylor to fight Scion Contessa neutralized her Master power and left her in the world of Campione, where Pandora upon sensing Taylor's actions turned her into a Devil-King saving her life.
And so starts our story, I've already decided upon the first two Gods she will have to face, but feel free to offer suggestions regarding future ones. I already have the bare bones of the plot mapped out, but not all of it, so if I think that your suggestions could fit into the plot they will appear later on.
A fair warning, things will go mostly the AU route regarding Canon Campione, some events will still remain the same, but others will be drastically affected. There will be also some minor changes to Worm canon as well, since for instance Taylor had no idea her codename was Khepri during the battle against Scion, or that it would be called the Golden Morning.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter, please review before leaving.