Jason Todd looked at me like he barely recognized me, his gaze sweeping over my attire. I cocked an eyebrow right back at him, taking in his ratty red hoodie and cargo shorts. "What are you wearing?" He asked me bluntly, sounding actually disquieted at seeing me anything other than a three piece suit.
"I'm retired. I don't need to be wearing suits all hours of the day," I returned, my tone flippant as I gave him a shrug. "I'm free to return to my own sense of style."
"I didn't think you had one. And your sense of style involves flip-flops?" Jason questioned doubtfully, casting a glance at Tifa. "I hope you didn't approve of this catastrophe. I don't have a sense of style at all, but I'm still better dressed."
Tifa laughed lightly while Cass was doing her darndest to shove a whole slice of cake into my mouth. "I think I like it. It's a nice change to see him wearing anything else," Tifa admitted. When you had suits as comfortable as mine, to the point that it felt like I was wearing pajamas every day, there wasn't much of a need to wear other clothing.
Chewing about two mouthfuls worth of chocolate cake, I gestured at Jason, "You can't talk shit about how I dress," I said. He looked like he had absolutely no clue what I said, but he sneered all the same.
"Can, will, and have," Jason shot back. He cocked his head at me, giving me a measuring look as we were surrounded by dozens of people. "So, you're really retiring? I figured you were the type to work on your deathbed." Tifa nodded, and I rolled my eyes. At least until I saw that Miranda also nodded.
"I worked hard so I could work less later," I lied through my teeth. Technically speaking, I had more on my plate than ever, but now I had literal divine influence helping me along with my goals. It was strange how that perspective could change so much. While I had accomplished so much in a single year, I now had an eternity to accomplish my goals - all of them. More than that, my perspective was so much broader. Even in this universe, I had only taken control of a single planet. It would be millennia until I had the same level of control over the rest of the universe, much less all of the others.
Jason didn't seem to buy it, "I'll give you a week before you're back behind your desk."
"It'll be longer than that," Tifa promised while Cass shoved more cake in my mouth, seemingly delighted in watching me squirm. "After everything, a nice long vacation is in store for us."
"It sounds like I have no say in the matter, so, yeah - long vacation," I agreed, earning a pleased look from Tifa. "What are you going to do?"
Jason shrugged his shoulders, glancing at Dick, who was chatting up Barbara, who was in turn chatting up Pod. Or, rather, the Android he had been downloaded into. It was too early to tell, but I could swear I saw the makings of a love triangle. "I'm going to be going to school. Try to get into college, I guess. I have some side stuff going on, but… I don't know. I started doing it because Gotham was such a shit show, and now it's the safest place in the world. Feels like there isn't a point anymore."
I imagine a number of heroes were starting to feel the same. We weren't at a point that they could all hang up their hats just yet, but we were inching closer every day now. Right now, the world was in the middle of a huge change and it was struggling with it. The effects that made my rise to power were still keenly felt - a huge drop off in some countries when it came to work, there was looting, and there were people in need of humanitarian aid. The work wasn't done, yet the end was in sight for Earth.
My gaze slid over to Donna Troy as she quietly spoke to her sister and mentor, Diana Prince. Atlantis had been elevated as a global power by virtue of the two top dogs getting knocked on their asses. Between Atlantis and Themyscira, humanitarianism would come first and foremost. It all was going exactly as I wanted it to.
"I think it's a little early to call it quits, Jason. You never know what the future has in store for you," I remarked, making his eyebrows shoot up at the remark.
"Should I take that as a warning or a prophecy?" He questioned, sounding like he thought it could be either. Or both. I offered a small shrug, not willing to say anymore than that. Out of the corner of my eye, I did see Lois Lane and, more importantly, her unassuming colleague Clark Kent. I still could never get over how he just… wore glasses. I mean, there were other things like body language and he seemed to make himself smaller, but you could only do so much to hide that he was built like a brick shit house.
"That," Lois interjected smoothly, "Sounds like a scoop. Vergil St. Jude announcing his retirement?" She began, revealing that she had very much been listening in our conversation. I expected nothing less. She was a snoop, afterall. Though, at least Clark had the decency to look sheepish. "You're going to make journalists across the world cry with that piece of news. It was nothing but headlines with you."
I aimed a lopsided smirk at her, "I intend to be pretty boring going forward. The world will just have to learn to go on without my shenanigans."
"Shenanigans is a pretty good word for it," Clark Kent, Superman, noted drily. He had a slight smile, maybe not exactly warm, but there was no double meaning in the words as far as I could tell. The Light had discovered my cameras, but the League were still in the dark about them. With Klarion the last member of the Light left… well… yeah, that was probably something I should nip in the bud while I had a chance. He absolutely would spill the beans just to fuck with me. Or, he would have. I imagine our dynamic just had a major change.
In any case, I was golden with the Justice League. Probably wouldn't be invited to any birthday parties or weddings, but after a year of walking the type rope, I made it to the otherside when it came to balancing my relationship with the Justice League. Most of the League had been on the fence about me after everything, but it was my decision to retire that convinced them, at last, that I was on the side of the angels. The act of giving up power convinced the big names and that trickled down.
It was almost weird, in a way. I was so used to constantly checking them, halfway treating them like an enemy or obstacle, that suddenly not needing to… was weird. Add that to the fact that I was dealing with an Evil Justice League, a genderbent version, and others at the same time only complicated things for me, but I could sort it out in my head to keep track of everything.
"The world has had enough excitement for one year. I'm looking forward to just kicking my feet up," I returned and good luck trying to tell if I was lying, Superman. I did feel a probe into my mind, and I didn't even need my divinity to block the attempt. My contacts, by far my most treasured creation, had been combined with my mind protection tech. Whoever just tried to read my mind - Martian Manhunter, Miss Martian, or another party - only gleamed thoughts that confirmed exactly what I said. That I was retiring and going to spend a lot of quality time with the people that mattered.
Clark held my gaze for a moment, and despite the glasses and posture, he was every bit Superman when he offered a small nod. "It's a well deserved vacation," he decided, offering a handshake that I took. Things could have gone very differently if I hadn't maintained that balance or been less good of a liar. The number of times that the heroes had been a hair's breadth from becoming an enemy… Even if this was the weakest version of the Justice League in the multiverse, I wouldn't have made it this far if I had to deal with them and the Light at the same time.
The party turned into much the same as I shook hands and traded words with a number of people. I carefully avoided touching Diana and Donna - in another universe, the moment that they touched me they had realized that I was a god. I wanted that to be on the downlow for as long as I could manage. A secret like that wouldn't stay buried forever, but in a hundred years, I imagine things would look very different when it came to Earth. They realized so easily because they had been crafted by the Old Gods.
Beyond them, I went through the familiar faces. Shook hands with Dick, who had remained the leader of the Team. According to my cameras, most of the team was mobilized in the Middle East. The rest of the world had been strong-armed into joining the EU, and the places that previously enjoyed not dealing with the Justice League suddenly found their boots up their asses when it came to a wide variety of crimes. For the first time, there were fewer heroes in America than there were international. Mostly because America had reached a point where they weren't needed.
Jason hovered nearby, but he would frequently break off to talk to members of the Team. The days of him being driven by spite to lash out at everyone and anyone were gone. Jason always would have a mouth on him, but his edges had been smoothed over. He had friends other than me. It was probably one of the best changes I could have made - the story of the Red Hood would never occur for Jason.
The Joker was dead for good. The Pit was gone for good. The tragedy with his mother was averted. Things were good between him and the others. While no life was problem free, his life going forward wouldn't be the tragedy that he suffered in other universes.
The same could be said for Bruce Wayne. The Batman was gone. For good. Bruce was settling in surprisingly well as President of the United States of America. He had always been a good actor, but with his raw intelligence and business acumen, roadblocks for policies were removed well in advance. In the few months of his presidency, I'm pretty sure he accomplished more than most other presidents before him. I think he actually enjoyed it. Either way, he found another outlet for his vengeance and he seemed healthier and happier for it.
One thing I didn't expect was for him to hook up with Talia al Ghul. I guess since her dad was dead, the last real roadblock in their relationship was removed. So far, she hadn't told Batman about me. I wasn't sure if that was because she thought she might have been out of the loop, or if she bought my lies, or even that she just kept her mouth shut. Either way, Dick and Jason were getting a new stepmom.
I did miss Snowflame, but he was busy proselytizing. The god of cocaine, which was more of a cocaine elemental as it would turn out, was proving to be a popular religion that was slowly taking off. That was going to be something I had to keep my eye on in the future.
It was an interesting experience - I could look through the lens of the multiverse, and I was seeing how much I had changed. There was so much different on this Earth where my presence bucked the trends of Destiny. I'm pretty sure I was at the top of the Endless' shit list for that, but I wasn't scared. Destiny was bound by destiny, limiting his actions. Even as the God of Tyranny, I was still free of its chains.
If I had to put how I felt about it in a single word, then 'satisfied' is what came to mind. The world was moving in accordance with my ideals and desires. It was a job well done, and that was without being a god factoring into the equation. I could see exactly how profound of an impact I had upon the world when I compared it to all the other universes, and even when there were some wild ones, they all generally stuck to the same beats. I'm not sure that there was a word that better summarized how I felt. Satisfaction perfectly encapsulated my feelings upon seeing my work and knowing that things would only get better from now.
Hours ticked by as we made the rounds, making small talk as my seventeenth birthday was officially celebrated. Cass spent most of that time trying to stuff me with cake. Tifa joined me in the small talk since people still wanted my influence for their own ends. While the party was still going strong, we did eventually make an excuse to break away from the spotlight.
It was in a private room that Tifa finally asked a question that I knew had been on her mind while I took a seat on a couch in the private room of Samantha's bar. She gave me a measuring look for a long second before she asked, "What happened? You were gone all day. I thought you were going to skip your own party."
My gaze swept over my girls - Tifa, Cass, 2B, Revy, and Miranda. All of them were giving me curious looks that silently asked the same question. Instead of responding verbally, I let my presence leak out ever so slightly and their eyes all widened the moment that they felt it. That they were standing in the presence of a bonafide god.
"What-" Revy started, looking alarmed, but I spoke before she continued.
"I picked a fight with the New God of Tyranny. I won," I told them quietly, making eye contact with all of them. Tifa looked shocked, Revy seemed more stunned. Cass and 2B were waiting for more while Miranda just cocked an eyebrow.
"Is that all?" Miranda questioned, her tone so dry that it could rival the Sahara desert.
Tifa looked like she really didn't know how to react to the news even when it really started to sink in. I continued, my voice calm and even. "I'm the New God of Tyranny. Things… are a bit different for me now. I'm… more," I admitted. The difference in perspective between being a human and a god was the difference between a human and fitoplankton. "But, I'm still me. I've also been cleaning house when it comes to the New Gods that were on Darkseid's side."
Cass tilted her head while 2B nodded. Tifa placed her face into the plans of her hands while a slow smile appeared on Revy's face. She knew where I was going with this. "Holy shit, you're an actual god? I knew you were an ambitious sucker, but this is a bit much to take in." It probably was. And, interestingly enough - as far as I could tell, this was the only universe that my girls existed in, excluding Cass. Even Miranda and Revy, who were natives to this universe.
"What do you intend to do?" Miranda questioned and in response, I held out a hand before five glowing balls emerged from it.
"Like I said, I've been cleaning house for the dark gods pantheon. It's complicated," I admitted, "but this is a sample size for a couple of gods. The Gods of Slaughter, Child Abuse, Rape and Subjugation, Cruelty, and Starvation - I've burnt away their avatars. The personality behind the power, leaving behind… divinity."
Miranda leaned back ever so slightly, realizing exactly what was on the table. Tifa looked at me, then at the small golden balls of light.
"We won't become bad gods?" Cass questioned, and I shook my head.
"The New Gods were gods because they had the power of gods. They became the personification of something because that is what they embodied," I explained Cass as she eyed the balls curiously. "So, you can become the god of anything you want. That's what I'm offering - godhood." I lowered my hand, but the golden balls of divinity remained.
"I'm not satisfied with the universe. Or the multiverse. I want to do what we've done here and do it everywhere," I told all of them, my tone honest. Part of that was the desire to make the world what I desired and part of that was the desire to have the same level of control as I did over Lowtown. I needed them to check that desire because it would run rampant if I let it. "I know it's a lot to take in and this is coming out of left field. Sorry about that. But I want you all to join my pantheon."
Revy cackled, "You really don't do anything by half."
"Liar. You said you would retire," Cass remarked, sounding distinctly unhappy with me. She puzzled out that things were going to get way busier for me rather than me just kicking my feet up.
However, as Tifa processed the offer and Miranda looked at the golden balls with a sense of hunger, it was 2B that acted. She reached out slowly to the golden ball and grasped it in her hand. Light leaked through her fingers before it began to sink into the palm of her hand, shining in her gray blue eyes for but a moment. The me behind the curtain of the multiverse watched on as 2B gave the power shape in the great beyond. I watched her become more, just as I had become.
Thankfully, her ascension was far less violent and painful. Mine had been because I ripped that power away from Darkseid where 2B was absorbing the small portion of divinity. Her Avatar took shape in the other universes, her awareness growing, even if it was more limited in scope. She hadn't absorbed the entirety of the power to spare her the sudden shock. It would be absorbed slowly, possibly over centuries. So much time, but it was hardly a blink of the eyes when eternity was how we measured time.
As one, 2B opened her eyes to look at me, a gentle kindness in them. "It's a good dream," 2B spoke up, her voice quite in the private room. "I think I would like to see it fulfilled… and to stay by your side, Vergil. Forever." I returned the gentle look, but the moment was thoroughly ruined by Revy shrugging her shoulders.
"Fuck it, why not?" She questioned, snatching one of the golden balls of divinity. She ascended, becoming more. I saw every hair on her body stand on end while her Avatar took shape. It was still too early to see what manner of god Revy would become - what kind of god that they all would become.
Her action spurned Miranda into action, "How could I say no to such an offer?" She questioned, taking a golden ball and absorbing it through her skin. Her expression was of rapturous elation. Like a dream that she never knew she had was just fulfilled.
Cass searched my face for a moment longer before nodding. "We'll be together. Forever," she told me in no uncertain terms before taking a bit of divinity. Leaving only one left.
I looked to Tifa, who eyed the golden ball cautiously. "This isn't something that can be undone," she noted, sounding slightly… afraid.
"It's not," I agreed, reaching out and taking her hands into mine, the golden ball between us. "I probably should have led with this, but I love you, Tifa. All of you. I want you to be there for every day of my life until the final curtain on this universe falls. I'm not saying it's going to be easy or simple. It'll be the opposite, really. But, I want to do it and I want you all there for it every step of the way."
Tifa searched my face as if she were trying to read my very thoughts. Eventually, slowly, a small smile did tug at the edges of her lips. "Revy's right - you really don't do anything by half," Tifa remarked, her hands going to cup the portion of divinity. "I was wondering when you were going to propose… most guys do it with a ring, not godhood."
I have Tifa a gentle smirk, "I've never been most guys, Tifa. Our first date was to a junkyard, after all."
"No, you haven't. And… I do, Vergil," Tifa said, clasping her hands over the orb of light, absorbing it. One by one, the people I cherished most in this world - in all of the multiverse - ascended to become gods. I had no clue what kind of pantheon we would become. I didn't really know what the future had in store for us either. I just knew that there would be challenges and hurdles, but with them at my side, I had absolute faith that we could get over them to create the future I wanted. In this universe and in every universe.
Standing up, Tifa's hands still in my own, Revy cocked a hip and an eyebrow, "Now what, Vergil?" She asked me, and my gaze swept over all of them - each radiating a powerful sense of confidence. All of them eager to take the next big step.
"Now?" I echoed, giving them all a slow smile, confidence in every word.
"Now, we stir up some trouble."
See No Evil is the story that has changed the most over its course. It started out as a rewrite of Be A Dragon, a Waifu Catalogue fic, but it rather quickly became very different from its predecessor. Some plot points, which will be elaborated on down below, were dropped as I decided to move further and further away from the catalogue until I dropped all elements of it completely. When I first started See No Evil, I wanted to make a story that was fundamentally different than anything that I wrote before - which were Going Native and Power Corrupts - and have a MC that fights solely with influence and leverage.
My goal was to have Vergil never throw a single punch to win a battle. For the most part, I did hit that mark. However, as a result, See No Evil was the story that I grew as an author the most with. It certainly had some growing pains. Especially when I chose to drop away from the Catalogue. But, at the end of the road, near two years later, overall I find myself satisfied with how it turned out. There are some areas of improvement, and I do have some regrets with the story, but I'm happy with how it turned out and I'm glad that it's the third of my stories to earn a Complete tag.
I set out to tell a story of a man that rose from homelessness to godhood within a year and I did it. The battles of intrigue and the balance between heroes and villains were as action-packed as some of my battles in my other stories. Vergil quickly became my favorite MC to write because it was a lot of fun balancing out his ruthless actions as he became a Tyrant with his noble intentions.
What I learned was from a few mistakes of what I did and what I didn't do. Looking back on it, See No Evil never took its foot off the pedal since No Man's Land. Maybe even before it. The story was just GO GO GO, right up until the ending and looking back on it, I do regret not taking the time to develop things with the cast a bit more. I do agree with those that felt like even the main side characters got pushed to the background. I became far to focused on Vergil's goals and making progress with them.
Another is that See No Evil lost its balance after NML. The Light, Reach, and League were meant to become the new Cobblepot and Batman, but the shoe didn't quite fit and I didn't spend enough time developing them beforehand. So, Vergil rapidly acquired power faster than I should have let him. That, and I regret not showing how the world had changed rather than just telling you how it did. It feels like a big weakness of the story, looking back on it - exploring the world took a back seat to maintaining the momentum of the story.
Lastly, I really wish I explored Vergil's power more. It rather early on became a Mcguffin for why Vergil has the things that he has. Looking back, I really wish I had kept exploring what the cards could do and finding cool combinations of items.
Lessons learned aside, I'm happy with See No Evil. And I want to thank all of you for reading up to the end. Especially those that have been here since chapter one.
Onto some answers I'm expecting:
What happened to the unable to feel extreme temperatures as seen in the first chapter?
Vergil, as in Be a Dragon, was meant to have the dragon heritage from the Waifu Catalogue. His combination magic was originally meant to be part of that heritage - Combine and Divide - that he would be exploring throughout the story to make him a physical powerhouse. However, I quickly fell out of love with the idea at around… chapter ten or so. It just didn't fit Vergil's character or his story - rising from homelessness to godhood is a lot less impressive when you're secretly an all-powerful dragon.
What happened to the Catalogue Elements?
They began dropping rather quickly but plans to include some of them lingered on for quite a while. City of Dreams, chapter 35 or so, was the last chapter to have any catalog involvement. I don't really have anything against the Waifu Catalogue. It just didn't work with the story I wanted to tell in this case.
Vergil was originally meant to be a dragon. In the chapter where Tifa buys back Vergil's phone, that was meant to reveal that he was a Contractor and give him access to the Company app. But, I felt like that would invalidate the first arc of the story and make it so that all the hardship he endured was because he didn't notice the Company app on his phone before selling it.
The girl's plot point is one that changed a lot before I ultimately decided it was better off not being touched upon. Originally, Vergil was meant to have purchased them but, due to the lack of bindings option, they were instead released into the wild where he would stumble across them in an organic way. When I dropped that idea, the next one was to have Tifa and 2B be waifus that another Contractor had dumped into the world.
That idea was quickly dropped because it felt like it would require shoving in the WC after about forty chapters and I thought it would cause a shit show in the threads. At that point, after 2B, I decided to drop the WC altogether.
The final explanation I had was that Tifa and 2B came in through a hole in the Source Wall that Vergil made with his body when he came through. But, I discarded it because it didn't mesh with how Tifa was introduced. That, and it had theological implications.
Who brought Vergil to DC?
First, it was going to be the Company. Then it was going to be himself due to timeline shenanigans. An idea that I had was to have Vergil already have killed Darkseid and the version that was projected into YJ was a Avatar stripped of his memories and abilities because, that way, Vergil could grow as powerful as he wanted in the setting without popping it like a balloon.
The idea was scrapped because it didn't fit the story I wanted to tell.
As for the answer I settled on? Just your average ROB that never even entered the story. Otherwise known as the best kind of ROB.
Possibility of a Sequel?
I'm not against the idea, but I think that See No Evil would be better off as a standalone work. If I ever do a sequel, it would have to be a New Game+ in another setting and exploring how the God of Tyranny would affect them. The idea has been tossed around between me and my editors, but, as of now, if there ever will be a sequel coming then it's going to be several years down the road.
What happens in the setting next?
More or less what Vergil stated in the story - he would move on from Earth and start making the universe fit his ideals. There would be a kerfuffle when the Justice League figured out that Vergil was now the God of Tyranny, But by that time the ball would be rolling and it couldn't be stopped. It would take a few billion years, but eventually the entire universe would end up as one giant utopia that Vergil rules over with an iron fist.
I do think that, eventually, Vergil would end up butting heads against forces like the Endless or the New Gods of New Genesis. But, as always, by the time he's willing to pick that fight, he would have won it already and their defeat would be a formality.
By the time it's time for the universe to go quietly into that good night, Vergil would have rigged the game for the next universe.
Exciting things! I'm sure that there are questions that I missed, but I would like to take the time to announce that replacing See No Evil is two stories!
The first is a story called Legends Never Die (Ahistorical/CKIII Gamer). It's an ahistorical story set in the late eighth century, just before the official start of the Viking Age. A young man, Eivor Erikson, was born with the ability to see small windows that gave him quests and rewards for their completion and what else could this ability be but a blessing from the Norse gods themselves?
The story follows Eivor as he gains notoriety as a powerful Viking warrior that soon reaches heights that make and break great figures in history.
The second story is a commission to complete a very old story that I think some of you will remember. It's Castoff, a Berserker and Witcher 3 crossover that I posted a chapter of about three years ago. The story follows Guts and Ciri as they get dragged into a web of political intrigue, ancient pacts, and a rapidly approaching apocalypse all the while Guts learns to accept that there's more to life than revenge.
Both stories will go live on the 27 of June! Hope you're excited for them!
And, on a final note, thank you so much for sticking with See No Evil until the end. It was a joy to write even if I do think I could improve in some areas. I wrote the story I wanted to write and it's with no small amount of pride that close this story for the final time.
Once again, thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I did writing it! I hope to see you all in future works!