We were all scrambling to get into position for combat, when suddenly Xavien jumped out in front of us, hands in the air.
“Wait!” he shouted, to everyone else’s surprise. “Goddess, I want to make a deal!”
Everyone in the room fell silent. None of us knew how to react to this sudden deviation from our plans, and the goddess clearly had no idea what was going on either. Even Xavien seemed to be surprised, either by his own audacity or the fact that nothing bad had happened to him yet.
“You little traitor!” Brie finally screamed, leaping at him with her bare fists. Tank reached out one of its titanic arms to stop her, but she still raved at him from behind the massive robot. “I’ll bite your fucking horns off, you bastard! This was supposed to happen on my terms, and you’ve ruined everything!”
Xavien recoiled at the outburst, but quickly gathered himself and once again turned to the goddess. “In exchange for un-cursing Kaelen, I want you to make me a cute girl instead,” he managed to say over Brie’s swearing behind him. “I think it’s kind of messed up that you would do that to someone who doesn’t want it, and this way nobody has to get hurt, right?”
That was a surprisingly reasonable plan for Xavien. I’d honestly been skeptical from the start that we would be able to defeat the goddess at all, and this way I could finally go back to being a man like I was supposed to. Xavien was far more suited for the role anyways. He already acted feminine, whereas I was just a wannabe.
Brie had finally calmed down, and now looked more annoyed than angry. “Xavien, you dummy,” she scolded him. “That’s obviously not enough of a tradeoff. Goddess, I think you’ll find it a much more reasonable solution that you turn me into a man. This would… also be a punishment. Selfless, I know, but I’m up to the task.”
Now it was Xavien’s turn to look back at her with rage. “You conniving little butthead!” he shrieked, his hands lighting up with demonic fire. “You already get to be a girl, and you’re just gonna throw it away to protect me? I actually want to be a girl, just let me have this one thing!”
Once again, it fell to Tank to hold the sorcerer back with its other arm. This time, however, it pushed both of them back and stepped forward itself.
“It Is Only Natural That I Should Make The Sacrifice Of Becoming Smaller And Cuter. As It Is My Purpose To Protect The More Important Members Of My Party At My Own Expense, It Would Be Most Illogical For Any Of Them To Make This Sacrifice In My Stead. Furthermore, It Is Strategically The Most Advantageous For The Goddess To Neutralize The Greatest Threat To Her Wellbeing. In The Present Situation, That Is Clearly Myself.”
At this, the goddess began cackling hysterically. “Guys, you don’t have to fight over it,” she managed to chortle. “If you all want my help, I can just help you; you know that, right? I have enough magic for everyone and then some.”
“Including changing me back, right?” I piped up, and everyone looked back at me. “You changed me as a punishment last time, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be like this. I’m an elf, not a kobold. That’s all I have to say, you can all stop looking at me now, please.”
The goddess pondered this for a moment, bringing her fingers over her mouth, before speaking directly to me. “Rogue,” she began, “when we met before, I cast a boon upon you. I’m a goddess, obviously, and my specialty is giving people their cutest ideal self. Do you see where I’m going with this?”
I mean, of course my ideal self was a woman. That much I’d known since I was a child. I still couldn’t explain why I had always wanted to be a girl, but the desire had always been there, nagging in the back of my mind. But I didn’t deserve it. I was supposed to be a man. I couldn’t just change that, could I?
Seemingly reading my mind, the goddess spoke again. “If you want to be, that’s what you are. You’re allowed to be a woman. You’re allowed to be yourself, if you want to. Do you want to be a woman?”
“Yes…” I squeaked, tears welling up in my eyes. “More than anything. I’m sorry, I’m crying a little bit. Wait, then why am I a kobold?”
The goddess just shrugged. “I dunno. It’s what your soul wanted, I just zapped you with the magic.”
After two extremely weird nights, I was honestly ready to accept that answer. If I was a girl, I might as well also be a kobold, right? I was cute now, fuck it.
“As for the rest of the omelette,” the goddess continued, “I have something that you’ll all find very useful.” With that, she waved her hand and produced a shining goblet out of thin air. It was encrusted with glistening blue and pink gemstones. I immediately recognized it as the ritual chalice I had been hired to steal the other night. “This is a Chalice of True Self. One sip of any liquid from it will change someone into their ideal form. It also tastes like your favorite drink, but I think that’s probably a little less important right now.”
“I mean it definitely couldn’t hurt,” Xavien chimed in. “Wait, does that mean I’m a girl?”
In response, the goddess simply offered them the chalice. They hesitated before cautiously accepting, grabbing it by the neck and running their fingers over the many jewels studding its surface. The goddess snapped her fingers and it filled with water.
“Whenever you’re ready,” she reassured them. “I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re all here for you.”
Xavien looked back at all of us, then took a deep breath as they closed their eyes and brought the chalice to their lips.