24: The Trial: Recess
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As soon as Aphrodite, Cupid and Casper shatter into hundreds of small pink hearts I pull Naunet by the side of her dress and ask her quietly, “Suijin can’t serious about all those horrible things he’ll do to me if we lose... right?”

“Oh, he is. Without a shadow of a doubt!” Naunet answers without any concern or reassurance. Sure, she won’t be the one that has to drown for all eternity!

“Why aren’t we calling witnesses of our own?” I ask. “This trial seems completely rigged.”

“Who do you propose I call?” Naunet asks. “You’ve killed almost everyone you’ve come into contact with.”

“The girl I rescued and took to that boring medieval village—”

“Died in the flood caused by the water dragons. Along with the rest of the village.”

“The other girl I rescued and took to her family in—”

“Died in the flood.”

“The bandits who ran away after I rescued the girls—”


“… The old guy—what’s-his-name—with plated armor that I and Cyra ran into before I met Casper?”

“Obviously, dead.”

I sigh and then realize something obvious and say loudly, “Wait, Cyra is standing right there!”

I point to my faithful companion and also, since this morning, non-blood related sister.

“You really want me to call as a witness the girl who witnessed most of your crimes?” Naunet crosses her arms. “We’d be destroyed in cross-examination. Little human girl, I think it is best for you to leave the planning of our defense to me.”

I sigh. I don’t want to leave the fate of my possibly soon-to-be immortal body in the hands of some goddess that may not give two damns about me.

“What will happen to Casper?” I ask. Not that I particularly care if he suffers horrible death and torture. After all, the slimy bastard did willingly come here to testify against me. But I rather keep my mind off all the horrible hellish experiences looming over my head.

“Something that he is unlikely to enjoy,” Naunet says in an ominous tone. “Though it depends on Aphrodite’s mood. She might decide to help the human boy enjoy his stay in the Realm of All-Encompassing Pleasures personally.”

I swallow what feels like a bone. Somehow, every fiber of my being is terrified of receiving this Aphrodite’s personal undivided attention. Though maybe, just maybe, it’s not as bad compared to what Suijin has to offer me?

After taking several deep breaths I finally muster up the courage to ask, “Can we actually win this thing?”

“Can we? Of course!” Naunet doesn’t seem to have the slightest notion of worry. “After all, anything can happen.”

NOT THE ANSWER I WAS LOOKING FOR!!! I almost scream at the goddess but somehow hold myself back. Barely.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Naunet understood what I was thinking anyway, because she then says with a smile, “Don’t worry—I have a good track record of messing with that pompous water god.”

“I wonder if somewhere out there a bunch of gods are excitedly placing bets with my life on the line,” I say sarcastically.

“You bet they are!” Naunet says and pats my shoulder while grinning. “I make a good living this way!”

I never thought I’d even think of such a possibility, but I think I’m starting to miss the Adventurer’s Guild. Looking bad at it, my time there wasn’t that bad...

“All rise!” I hear Cupid’s voice and look to the top of the highest of all the pyramids that Naunet raised. Both he and Aphrodite are in the process of taking their usual human forms out of those little pink hearts. The hearts might be human, but I can’t be sure. I’m not some surgeon, after all.

“Alright, let’s slide right back into it!” Aphrodite says and sits back on her fifty shades of red tentacled eldritch horror that eagerly waited for its goddess all this time, atop the mithril Pyramid of Judgment.

Suijin walks on a summoned water wave forward, closer to the mithril pyramid and says, “My next witness will be Miss AHM123 of the Adventurer’s Guild.”

“Oh, no,” I let out the last bit of air out of my lungs, that hasn’t been ravaged and butchered by the events of today. Within seconds I hear the ‘chuff, chuff, chuff-chuff-chuff’ sound. Looking high into the air I see a familiar figure.

A panther girl with black fur, a blonde bob haircut and wearing a striped black and white business suit. She has the scalp of her head open to the side like a sardine can lid. Out of her head stick out propellers on metal rods which she uses for flight and additional two bent rods which the girl holds onto with her hands.

When the panther girl lands, the propellers, and all the rods fold neatly back into her skull, the lid closes, and the girl adjusts her hair and uniform. Then she simply raises her right hand to her mouth and clears her throat, “Ahem!”.