“‘Impossible’ is something to be broken by the strong.”
- Maria, in response to the word 'impossible'
Maria Gloria-Fernandez is a Leonian pirate captain of the ship Gloria's Grail, and a True Conductor.
She is one of the six main protagonists of the Six Chances series - a 'failed' saint candidate of Leo, she is also a myth called "the Golden Beast." She is in search for the pirate captain that whisked her away from her saint candidacy ceremony, but is "just taking the scenic route."
She was said to have been "raised in a Leonian Monadic church" alongside her childhood friend, Conta, but her origins are seemingly unknown. The church said "she was amazing" and "had the potential to be a saint candidate," but before Maria's initiation ceremony, the church was supposedly raided by pirates.
Meeting the Six
Before the Six had their first encounter, Maria was introduced in the process of raiding another pirate ship.
“Everyone from your land speaks of loyalties but such things are like treaties, aren’t they? They change with the tides of time. If you want to hold anything to yourself, it should be a promise. And I’m sure there is an unspoken promise between you and your men to protect each other, yes? It just seems to go that way when you are together for so long. I think. So now, Morandi, is loyalty worth a broken promise?”
- Maria to Morandi, after raiding his ship
Maria's disarming personality is the reason behind many perceiving her as simply "crazy." Shown to have bouts of possessiveness when referring to the Six as "hers," she is sometimes callous when considering other people's emotions. Her attitude while approaching things, such as when combating Scorpio's manipulations, have on multiple occasions struck people speechless.
She seems to act regardless of both societal norm and expectation, showing both flexible morals and an unwillingness to conform. Maria seems to operate on her own unique logic, having an almost otherworldly nature at times. However, she can be perceived as cruel, relying out but threats and the ability to carry them out.
“Hm. How about this? One of my friends likes reading books, you see,” Maria continued. “There is one book she read—it is quite funny—where this one character who was a cannibal, yes? He ate other people and was able to get their memories from eating them. It was a horror story, but I found it very funny.” She leaned in close and whispered into the man’s ears: “Shall I give it a try?”
- Maria, to a spy
Part I: The Converging Six
After her introduction in which she raided a cargo ship, Maria and her crewmates discover a crate full of jewelry along with a cabin that houses a mysterious golden woman who is sleeping, in handcuffs. She synchronizes with Olive and he points out that the handcuffs have external insulators, which he thinks is suppressing the golden woman's vitae flow. He finds a way to unlock the handcuffs and free the woman. As the golden woman is freed and opens her eyes, Maria asks the woman if she wants to be friends.
The woman then introduces herself as "Oros," a Leonian word. Maria offers Oros a position on her crew and let her roam free, after which she synchronizes with Werner. While in Werner's body, Maria releases Aquarian captain Dunya Kramer, saying "mercy is something only the strong have." She returns to her ship and her body shortly after, only to be challenged to a duel by the golden woman.
During the duel, Maria reveals herself to be of extraordinary ability, but loses, however, to Oros. Oros then proceeds to sow descent amongst the crew although Maria does not notice it; in her cabin, with Simon and Conta during a synchronization with Werner, Olive, and Cadence, all of them bring up the possibility of the a mutiny against her.
After promising that she'll look into the disturbances, Maria disappears into the ship's bathhouse, where she synchronizes with Werner. Maria asks where he is in his body, but Werner declines to answer, explaining that he does not want a repeat of the Aquarian captain. They converse, and Werner admits that he does think that Maria has a lack of understanding leadership. After Maria points out that "Wern" has become friendlier, Werner also admits that "recent circumstances have indicated that improving relations would be beneficial." Their talk -and synchronization- is interrupted by Oros, who asks if she can join Maria.
Maria accepts, and Oros asks Maria if she's ever heard of the tale of the Golden Beast. Maria returns that yes, but she's excited to listen to Oros' version. Oros indulges her, saying that no one who has heard the story has lived to tell its ending; but suddenly, people burst in the bathroom - some of Maria's crewmates have mutinied - leaving those loyal to Maria unconscious. Oros tells Maria that she is the Golden Beast.
Later, however, it is revealed the Maria is the true Golden Beast, as one of the crewmates burst in the area to all of mutinied crewmates dead, killed by Maria. Maria explains that when they were younger, Conta "liked to tell tale tales," and asks Oros how it felt like living out Maria's legend. Later Oros, brandishing a conductor, converses with Maria. Jericho then synchronizes, and recognizes Oros as the missing Ophiuchus agent, Chairwoman of the ELPIS Division of Ophiuchus and Saint Candidate of Leo, Leona.
As Maria talks to Jericho, Leona listens to half of their conversation and laughs, saying that there was no way a normal person would've held her own against her. Leona says that she'll let Maria go, while explaining that a conductor "is something that transmits something...heat, sound, vitae," and that Jericho and Maria would be considered under the label "True Conductors."
Just then, Atienna synchronizes with her, and steps between Oros-now Leona- and Maria "just like Jericho had." Using the logic of, 'if the Six were truly Maria's, she would have to keep the Six happy,' Atienna calms Maria down for a while. Leona says that she only forgives Maria's disrespect because she is necessary, but she cannot forgive the humiliation she has suffered at the crew's hands. While Leona takes Conta hostage, Maria chuckles and says that she will kill Leona if anything happens to Conta, as Conta is Maria's "favorite." With that, Maria commands Morandi to lower the boat for Leona's escape.
Leona says that she is allowing Maria to live only because she is too important to die. The Chairwoman then asks Maria if she understands. Maria does not, but recognizes that Leona's arrogance allows her to only release Conta when Maria acquiesces, so Maria replies that she does understand. Leona then tosses Conta into the sea while kicking off on the boat.
At the end of (34) Part I | 5.4: GOLDEN BEAST, Maria dives in the water after Conta.
Part II: The Illusionary Six
|While on the way to Pisces to pick up a package for the Twin Cities' Campana Family, Maria wakes up in her ship in the middle of the night, which she notes as "strange" as she usually naturally awakens in the morning to Raul (the Glory Grail's chef) and his ladle-banging.
She gets up and looks through a porthole, noticing a small ship that has roped itself to her own. As she leans closer for a better look, she comes face-to-face with another Conductor, a Projector. Without missing a beat, Maria immediately disarms them and muses that she "has many friends that are Conductors," and that she "is considering whether she should become one." In the end, she decides her sword is cooler, and impliedly kills them.
After going outside, she discovers her ship under attack by invaders - after saving Raul and Conta from them, Maria and her crew discover that the invaders are bounty hunters. Maria notes that the reward is 750,000 common coins, which is "only a little more than last time." Morandi replies that it's more than he'll ever make in his lifetime, and that it's the "tenth time this is happened this week." It is agreed upon that the bounty hunters all seem to belong to one group. It is revealed that Conta is upset at Maria from an argument. They keep a bounty hunter alive, and it is revealed her name is Ley. Maria asks Ley where Ley said she was from. Ley replies that, "to [the bounty hunters], [she's] from their worst nightmare." Maria chuckles and says that they say the same about her, too. The Glory Grail arrives at Hapaira, a Piscese tourist town. After discovering that it has been hit by a storm - to which Cadence and Werner warn Maria to be careful - Maria meets a Cancerian man at a sweetshop. He introduces himself as Renee LeBlanc, a Chevalier, and they converse about the storm. Renee explains that Hapaira seems to have been hit by a beast - a so-called "Beast of the Deep."
As the crew head through the town and arrive at the point where they are supposed to receive the package, they find the package-holder dead and the scene ravaged by an Elementalist. Maria says that it is time to "hunt instead of being hunted." It is revealed in the next chapter that they have hunted for three days to no avail.
Maria and her crew are gathered at a waterway Maria discovered at the beginning of (50) Part II | 8.4: Maria's Capture (Fuga). As Giorgio, a member of Maria's crew, comes back after raiding a food stall, Maria uses his knife to stab a person in a nearby building who she thinks is following him After entering the building to check that she "didn't get the wrong person," Maria remarks that the person is not a very good spy. She adds that she has a friend who read a horror story about a cannibal, and amiably threatens to do the same to the bounty hunter.
As her crewmates follow her, the bounty hunter tries to attack Maria only to be knocked out by Ley. Ley searches the bounty hunter's body and finds a surfboard keychain, and comments on the chain of coincidences - Ley concludes that there's likely a connection between the surfboard, the Elementalist, the beast of the deep, bounty hunters, and the package. Maria agrees that they should go to the surfboard store, but insists that the crew stay behind.
Maria synchronizes with Werner just as she arrives at the store. As she enters, Olive and Cadence synchronizes as well, Atienna and Jericho following soon after. Maria discovers a pile of bodies inside, belonging to bounty hunters that have been seemingly massacred by one person. As she explores, she stumbles upon Ley, who explains that she followed Maria.
The two discover a young girl amidst the corpses, who asks them whether or not they're here to pick the girl up for the Campanas.
In the next chapter, Maria and her crew have stolen away into one of the buildings deeper in town, where it is revealed that the girl is blind. In the dining room, one of the Six synchronizes and notes that the conductor around the girl's neck is a probably a Specialist's. The girl refuses to give her name. Morandi attempts to lead a round of introductions, but Ley cuts in and says that the girl is likely the package the Campanas want them to deliver, to which the girl responds that she goes wherever Don Campana asks her to go.
When Ley asks what places the girl has been to, the girl says that she's been to Cancer, Scorpio, and "even to Taurus," where people "request [her all the time]". Ley then suggests that the crew shouldn't go by boat to Gemini as they are being chased by a water Elementalist, and asks the girl if she's heard anything about the "beast of the deep." The girl answers that she's heard a person - likely Aquarian - voice refer to themselves as that in third person. As Maria unintentionally makes the girl uncomfortable, the girl asks for Conta to lead her out of the dining room.
The next day, it is discovered that the girl slipped out during the night.
Maria goes into the town and searches for her, where she encounters the girl hand in hand with Renee, whom the girl has told about the situation. After Maria flips Renee to get to the girl, she hesitates after one of the Six tells her she's scaring the girl. In the moment, Renee reveals himself to be a Conjuror and battles with Maria. During the battle, the river beside them suddenly begins to move backwards, glowing with violet light. A wave crashes down on all of them, coincidentally at the instant when Maria feels her True Conductor connection to Werner break.
She is confused about her feelings, but is broken out of her reverie when she sees the girl drowning next to her. Maria saves the girl, and the girl immediately asks why Maria did that. Maria replies that it is because she could, and reassures the girl that Maria's crew will find them soon. The girl is disbelieving, and breaks down, saying that she "has to go to the Twin Cities," and "has to be useful," otherwise the Campanas will "throw [her] away."
Part III: The Fragmented Six
“Different people experience different things,” Jericho stated, although it seemed more of a question than a suggestion.
Maria abruptly reached out for the peacekeeper and pulled him in close to her. Jericho stared at her blankly as she guided him through a strange waltz that spanned the entire room.
“This is amazing!” Maria laughed merrily as they spun round and round. “More True Conductors! My dears, this is exciting! I want to meet them all!”
- Her name, Maria Gloria-Fernandez, is made of the Maria from ‘mare’ as in ‘the sea'; Gloria as in ‘glory’; and Fernandez as in 'brave traveller.'
- She has webbed toes, that is the reason she can swim really fast.