“Greetings, creature,” said Teresa while idly raising a hand into the air, “and goodbye.”
“Woah! Woh-woh-woh!” yelled Keira while waving her arms around in a panic.
The Goddess looking down at it in every sense of the word raised an eyebrow. Taking it as a prompt to plead its case, the catgirl smiled sweetly and tilted her head to the side in an adorable fashion.
“You’re a reasonable deity, ma’am. Surely we can work something out!” she offered.
“Humpf! Divine Smite!”
However, the ‘reasonable deity’ merely scoffed at the ‘offer’ and snapped the fingers on her raised arm. A split second later, a massive deluge of divine energy rained down on the spot Boxxy was standing. At first glance, the column of white light was extremely reminiscent of the Hero of the Hammer’s signature Skill - Justice From Above. This particular attack, however, had two key differences. The first was that it would annihilate the target without any regard for things such as ‘justice’ or ‘evil,’ while the second pertained to the scale, as the original move was dozens of times larger in scope and strength than the watered down product Teresa’s Hero had gotten. In short, there would be literally nothing left of the Mimic’s astral projection, and its unconscious body back in the mortal realm would eventually wither and die without a soul to call its own.
Teresa sighed deeply as the unnecessarily long downpour of magic kept bombarding the spot the Mimic used to occupy a few seconds ago. She had such high hopes for Bernard, certain he was finally going to be ‘the one.’ She had been so obsessed with him, that she even went so far as to risk raising the ire of the other Gods by resurrecting him the first time around. She had managed to deflect much of the blame onto that conniving nitwit Hillary for purposefully detonating his dungeon core in the first place, but that was then, this was now.
Those other loudmouths would surely not let this interference of hers slide as easily, but Teresa honestly did not care anymore, as her latest chosen one was well and truly gone. She couldn’t even resurrect him since he was killed in a Clash of Fate. That sacred dueling rite was triggered whenever two Heroes stood on opposite sides of a conflict, and the victor would absorb part of the divine power bestowed upon the loser, stripping them of their Hero status in the process.
Of course, the contest did not necessarily have to be violent in nature, as it was possible to duel through any means by which a clear winner could be determined. A battle of wits, a contest of craftsmanship or even a foot race around the continent - all of those were examples of past Clashes of Fate that did not involve murder. Even armed conflict need not necessarily end with a killing, as the loser could merely be defeated and/or subdued without the use of lethal force.
But, the Clash between Justice and Chaos was not like that. That meddling box did not have a track record of sparing its enemies, so the outcome was only a matter of course. Teresa knew Bernard would die and the divine link between him and herself would be severed the instant the Clash of Fate was announced. However, its strict non-interference policy prevented even her from, well, interfering.
She was thus forced to watch as that hideous, contemptuous creature toyed with and ultimately murdered her Hero, sending his soul on a one-way trip to Mortimer’s domain. Teresa had shed more than a few tears, as it was highly unlikely a man of Bernard’s caliber would appear any time soon. She clearly saw the potential within him to become the greatest Hero of the Hammer that ever lived, but his journey had been cut short not once, but twice. Both times by a truly despicable monster that could not even say ‘good morning’ without lying twice.
However, Teresa’s grief and future Hero screening plans would have to wait, because she felt a strange oddity within her domain. She glanced at the spot where that shapeshifter had been summoned to, and also the spot that she unleashed a truly fiend-like attack upon it. The semi-solid cloud had since been dispersed and she saw no sign of the creature itself, but something was definitely there.
Something black, small and circular that was about a meter wide and swirled around itself in an almost hypnotic fashion.
A few short breaths later, Boxxy was violently ejected from its own Storage. It flew up into the air, landing roughly on a nearby chunk of cloud. The Hylt Creeper Doppelganger had reverted to its base form, and was currently busy coughing up thick, dark red blood out of its vertical mouth. Temporarily hiding within its own pocket dimension like that was what allowed the monster to dodge Bernard’s Judgement From Above less than a minute ago, so its hunch that it would work even against the Goddess herself was spot on.
However, misusing the Storage Skill by trying to even temporarily store itself inside it caused the spatial magic involved to backfire and inflict grievous injuries upon the shapeshifter’s body due to the magical backlash. Back during the Clash it had only done so for a moment so the backlash was negligible and easily concealed. It even managed to use the flashy nature of the Hero’s Skill to its benefit, as the bright light and kicked up ash provided the perfect cover for its antics. The casual observers around the scene would have likely just assumed that Keira had evaded the Spell using her speed and predictive ability.
But there was a limit to how much it could play around like this, as being forced to hide away inside its Storage for nearly 5 seconds straight had almost caused it to kill itself from the backlash.
‘Almost’ being the operative word in that statement.
“Heh. Hehehe! Koff koff! Hehehehehe!” it laughed wickedly while sputtering up blood. It then stared right at the befuddled Goddess’s face and twisted its head into a wide, sideways smile.
“Excuse me, your divine bitchiness!” it taunted. “You missed! Aaaah, hahahaohohohahahoahehehehohohahaha!”
“Will you just fucking DIE?!”
Outraged beyond reason by that cackling, mocking, downright blasphemous laughter, Teresa swung her arm down in a dramatic arc, causing a second Divine Smite to fall down upon Boxxy. And yet again, the Mimic evaded it by slipping inside its own Storage portal. Once back in its pocket dimension, it quickly reached for one of the Rejuvenation Potions it had in stock and ate it in one bite, glass vial and all.
It then felt its entire body being rapidly ripped to pieces both on the outside and within as the magic invoked by the Storage Skill vehemently disagreed with the paradox of putting a bag inside itself. The alchemical fluid coursing through the Mimic’s body then began rapidly stitching up its self-inflicted wounds while Teresa’s God-tier magic pounded against the still-open entrance. However, the only thing that passed through a Storage portal was whatever its owner desired. Even a deluge of divine power could do nothing but pass through it more or less unhindered unless Boxxy wished otherwise.
The shapeshifter endured another 5 seconds of having its body being ripped apart and put back together. It honestly had no idea what to do from this position, however, as another attack would surely come the instant it had to leave. Nevertheless, it refused to give up. Boxxy didn’t come this far, been through all that shit and killed and eaten so many people just to keel over and die because of some butthurt Goddess.
The Mimic didn’t know if killing or even harming that deity was even possible in principle, let alone inside her own domain, but it would sure as fuck try. Wherever this space was, it still followed the same rules and principles as the endless white room Jonathan had invited it to twice before. It knew from experience it was a place where both magic and Skills were usable. And if Boxxy could use those, then it would fight back without question. Heck, it might just give Teresa a black eye before it got annihilated.
Something of a final ‘fuck you’ to the powers that be.
When the opportunity presented itself, Boxxy leapt out of its interdimensional hidey-hole, except this time it had brought a little something-something out with it. It didn’t know what it was going to do, but it sure as shit wasn’t going to accomplish anything on its own, which was why it was currently gripping on the demonic skull-headed staff known as Voidcaller. The instant it secured its footing and before Teresa could re-arm her divine smiting cannon, it activated the Artifact-grade item’s ability and called forth one of its familiars.
A 3-meter tall doorway made out of crimson, eerie light appeared out of thin air, allowing the instantly-summoned Kora to stumble out of it.
“Ugh… Boss? What are- Woah!”
Without waiting for the fiend to get her bearings, the Mimic had wrapped a pair of tentacles around her waist and flung her directly at Teresa’s face with all its might. In the next instant it ducked back inside the Storage, as yet a third downpour of annihilation bombarded its position. Flying and spinning wildly through the air, Kora somehow grasped what exactly she was meant to do. She twisted her body around in mid-air just in time to deliver a full-forced drop-kick to the distracted bitch’s face.
More specifically, her nose.
Correction - her broken nose.
Teresa let out a rather unladylike scream at the sudden jolt of pain on her face, causing her to stumble back and lose the focus on her magic. With the Divine Smite interrupted well ahead of schedule, Boxxy was able to depart the pocket dimension post-haste. It really didn’t have much choice in the matter, either, as it would surely not survive another full encore performance.
The Goddess’s rage, however, had finally reached her boiling point. What should have been a simple execution of an annoying pest had suddenly turned into a farce that was making a fool of both her power and her authority. Deciding it was time to put an end to this whole thing, Teresa flexed all of her divine muscles for the first time in a long while, causing countless chains of shining gold to erupt from the nearby clouds. Boxxy and Kora evaded and struggled best they could, but ended up leashed to a cloud next to each other all the same, as the magical restraints completely paralyzed their bodies.
“I will not be made a fool of!” declared Teresa.
“I’m afraid it’s a bit too late for that, dearie.”
An eloquent male voice, one undoubtedly belonging to the God of Chaos himself, washed over the Goddess.
“Y-You?! What are you doing there?!”
“Oh you know, just thought I’d drop by and see if you wanted any cookies this fine afternoon- What the fuck do you think I’m doing here?!”
“If you’ve come to save your precious box and your worthless figment, then you’re far too late!”
“Save?! Oh hoh hoh ho! My, how wrong you are! I’m not here to save anyone! Well, technically I’m not here at all, but that’s besides the point. And the point is this - the reason I’ve come is to punish a certain uppity brat for being naughty. Want to take a guess as to who that brat is? I’ll give you a hint - it’s you!”
“Like hell I’ll let you do that! Let’s see you ‘punish’ me when I- When I-! Grrrrrnn-!”
Teresa’s face visibly strained as she attempted and failed to eject the foreign presence within her divine area.
“No... Why? Why can’t I force you out!?” she bellowed.
“To put it simply, it’s because, you can’t shut the door on me when I have my foot in the doorframe and you lack the strength to break it.”
Teresa, Boxxy and Kora’s eyesights were drawn as one to the red doorway opened by Voidcaller. The very portal through which the fiend was allowed to set foot in this divine realm was not only still there, but it was gradually glowing larger. The space itself around its borders cracked and distorted as the eldest deity in existence demonstrated that said title was hardly just for show.
“Now then,” he continued in a casual tone. “I would love to show up personally but, seeing as how I have one of my cute kids already on location, I don’t think that’ll actually be necessary.”
With a terrifying howl and streaks of lime-green light pouring out of it, the lingering summoning portal suddenly expanded in size, becoming a circle at least 10 meters wide in an instant.
“Haargh! Raaaaaaaagh!” roared Kora as she thrashed against her bindings.
She shook and growled and screamed as her entire being resonated with that scar in Teresa’s reality. Not understanding what was going, but realizing full well that it could not be allowed to continue, the Goddess tried to put an end to it by wiping out both of the foreign presences in her domain with one blow. However, the upteempth bombardment of raw, divine power did not reach either the fiend nor her master, as it bent unnaturally around both of them, leaving them completely unscathed.
A tense few moments later, both Boxxy and Teresa were thrown back by a massive shock wave that originated from Kora’s body. The monster’s shackles and the Goddess’s Divine Smite were forcefully dispersed in that same instant, sending the Mimic flying wildly through the air until it landed safely on a floating red sofa. The clearly out-of-place piece of furniture was by no means random, as a humanoid-shaped puff of white clouds was sitting on the other end of it.
“Hey, Boxxy. Long time no see,” it said with a nod.
“Wordsworth? Is that you?!”
“In the metaphysical flesh!”
“Metawhatsical? Oh, I see, it’s a type of remote body.”
“Indeed. I could have made a personal appearance, but thanks to you, I don’t have to expend all that effort. Forcing open a link to the Beyond from the inside like you did really makes this whole ‘invading a fellow deity’ thing much easier.”
“Okay. But, uh, shouldn’t I be getting out of here?”
“You could, though I would not recommend it. You’d be missing out on quite the show, after all!”
Following Urkel’s hand gesture, Boxxy’s yellow eyes settled upon Kora’s new form, which had gone through a number of dramatic changes likely brought about by the Goddess of Uncertainty’s direct influence.
For starters, she was gigantic. The lack of any and all surrounding reference points made it hard to tell exactly how huge her floating body was, but she was at the very least a whole head taller than the dumbfounded Teresa. The next set of changes that were immediately apparent related to her outfit, as the Demonic Armaments that were a manifestation of the fiend’s violent nature had undergone a drastic transformation.
The armored gauntlets covering her hands were now completely enveloping her forearms in demonic, red-hued steel. The newly-acquired gauntlets were far more… pointy than her old ones, as evidenced by the claw-like finger tips, the short, wide spike jutting out from just above the knuckles and the relatively compact, axe-like blades attached to her elbows. Her boots had also taken on a more lethal theme, as the knee-high sabatons now sported a triangular armored plate that extended beyond her knees and an upwards-curved, dagger-like blade extending backwards from each heel. The small gorget that previously protected her neck had now expanded down to her collarbone, while a plain-looking armored shoulderpad adorned her left, frontmost shoulder.
As for her clothes, the skin-tight sports-bra-and-hotpants combo had been replaced by what appeared to be a flowing dress. The only things covering the demoness’s upper body aside from her neck and shoulder armor were a pair of vertical strips of white cloth that extended from her collarbone down to the metallic belt on her waist. They did very little to hide or contain her otherwise unbound breasts and also left her muscular back completely naked. Her lower half was covered by a trio of wide, dangling cloth tails that extended to just beyond her knees. One hung loosely between her legs at the front, while the other two were draped over the outer sides and backs of her muscular thighs while also keeping her tight rump just barely hidden from view.
And the third and final part of the fiend’s sudden transformation was perhaps the most significant, as her physical form had also been altered. She still had the same voluminous, untamed green hair that draped over her otherwise exposed back and the predatory look in her matching lime-green eyes. Her telltale bright red skin and well-defined muscles were also there for the whole world to see, not to mention that her somewhat pretty face and long, pointed ears that put elves to shame clearly marked her as none other than the same old Kora. However, the additional metallic horn that parted her hair just above her forehead, coupled with the third pair of armored arms jutting out from behind her original four limbs served as undeniable proof she was not the same as she was.
Indeed, quickly checking on its familiar’s Status, Boxxy had made a shocking discovery.
“She’s… Ranked Up?” is asked curiously.
“Yup!” declared Jamal. “Fiends are a bit too fragile a vessel to contain the kind of output I’m subjecting her to, so I gave her species a little push, as it were. So, congratulations, Boxxy! You are now the proud (and only) owner of an Archfiend familiar!”
Needless to say, this was not something Boxxy would complain about.
And judging from the demon’s current behavior, she was absolutely loving it.
“MMmmng!” she groaned in satisfaction while flexing and twisting her newly amped-up body. “This feels amazeballs! It’s incredible! I feel like I could punch a guy and not only kill him, but also wipe out his entire race!”
“What- What is the meaning of this?!” asked Teresa, completely befuddled by this sudden development.
“Why, it’s exactly as I said,” answered Gerald’s booming voice. “My lovely assistant here will be administering your punishment for playing too fast and loose with our rules. So, Koralenteprix, my dear?”
“Would you kindly slap Teresa’s shit for me?”
“... All of it?”
“All of it.”
“I dunno, Chief. That’s a looooot of bullshit.”
The newly reborn archfiend slammed her left fists into her right palms, eliciting a trio of heavy, dull thuds.
“But I’m sure I can manage!”
No sooner did she utter those words that Kora’s form vanished.
In the next instant, the demon reappeared in front of the indignant Goddess, her right fists firmly embedded in the divine woman’s torso. Her body caught up with the massive triple impact a split-second later and was flung into the distance like a ragdoll. Moving once again with speed too fast even for Boxxy to follow, Kora reappeared in her flight path and delivered a flying double kick to Teresa’s spine, sending her flying downwards like a meteor.
The Goddess’s relatively smaller body collided with what seemed to be thin air, creating a spider-web pattern of cracks through the boundary of her divine area. Indeed, even if it looked infinite, a God’s living space was anything but. So, having crashed so violently into the floor of her own house, the illusion of an endless blue sky shattered, leaving behind a smooth, dull gray floor.
Not letting up in the slightest, Kora stomped down on top of Teresa’s waist with enough force to send a visible ripple through the border of her private pocket of reality, further distorting the heavenly illusion around it. The fiend jumped off her victim and reached down to grab her by the left ankle. She then flung the Goddess over her head and slammed her face-down on the ground with an extremely satisfying thud. Still gripping her ankle, Kora proceeded to throw Teresa about at random, smacking her into the ground over and over as if she were using a coin-filled sock to massage a dragon’s back.
“BEST! *THUMP* DAY! *THUMP* EVER! *THUMP*”
The extremely elated demon then grabbed onto the Goddess’s two feet with all six of her hands.
She then slammed her into the ground with enough force to cause the blonde-haired deity to bounce back up to Kora’s eye level. The demoness then lunged forward and grabbed her newest toy by the neck with one of her left arms and held her up while seemingly trying to choke the life out of her.
“C’mon, bitch!” she shouted. “I want to hear you scream!”
Teresa, who had remained completely silent ever since the beating started, responded by spitting out a loose tooth which bounced pointlessly off of Kora’s middle horn. The defiant glare in her eyes said louder than any words that there was absolutely no way she’d yield with only this much abuse.
“Oh, you’re feisty,” remarked the fiend with a widening grin. “Good! I like feisty!”
Kora then began working her over top to bottom by repeatedly punching her with her five free hands. A series of dull, machine-gun-like thuds echoed throughout the area, accompanied by the archfiend’s rolling yells of ‘RARARARARA,’ but with not even a whimper from the Goddess herself.
“You know, I’ve been wondering about something regarding that girl,” said Nimoy in a bemused tone.
“Oh? What’s that?” asked Boxxy, who had reverted to its chest-shaped form in order to make itself more comfortable.
The two of them were still floating about on Fergus’s sofa, which gave them a superb view of the Goddess-turned-punching-bag’s ongoing performance.
“Why does she do that ‘ora ora’ thing with her mouth?”
“No idea,” answered Boxxy. “She probably just finds it fun.”
“Ah, right, of course.”
“Say Marco, not for nothing, but can I get going now? I have stuff to do and this is getting kind of boring.”
“Well, yeah. As much as Arms tries, the Goddess doesn’t seem to get seriously injured at all.”
Indeed, even though Kora’s fists sent ripples through her flesh while her spiked knuckles filled her full of holes, Teresa as a whole remained completely unphased.
“Just seems like a waste of effort,” it added.
“I suppose you have a point,” said Charles. “Being both invulnerable and immortal makes it quite difficult to administer corporal punishment. Well, it still stings like a bitch, but this beating won’t really teach her a lesson or anything like that.”
“So then why even bother?”
“Because I find it quite cathartic, to be honest. It’s just satisfying watching that cheating cunt get her comeuppance after all this time. Although, truth be told, even I’m growing a bit bored of this. I suppose I might as well move onto the meat of the matter. Ahem!”
Jerry cleared his throat as he changed to his ‘outdoors’ voice.
“Oh, Koralenteprix! Sorry to butt in and ruin your fun, but could you be a dear and let me speak with Teresa for a moment?”
“You got it, Chief!”
The fiend stopped pummeling her sandbag of a target and grabbed her from behind, using her multiple limbs to firmly restrain Teresa’s arms and hold her in place while Rachel’s sofa floated down to her eye level.
“Now then. I suppose I should begin administering your punishment for real, eh Teresa?”
“Punishment? Don’t make me laugh you impudent wretch!” she responded defiantly.
“Oh, I assure you, the chance of you laughing anytime soon is very much an absolute zero."
“Humpf! Do your worst, asshat! After that we’ll see how the others feel about you trespassing on my domain!”
“Tisk, tisk, tisk, Teresa. Did you just assume I bypassed the other gods and came here without getting their consent first? That’s right - they not only know about my being here, but also support this little… home visit.”
The Goddess blinked her gigantic blue eyes several times in surprise.
“... What? Those guys turned their backs on me?!”
“Well, duh! Your little stunts have pissed off quite a few of them, you know! To begin with, this little war you’ve allowed to go on has not earned you any friends. I mean, Nyrie is definitely not a fan of having her followers slaughtered by the thousands, even though you seem to be fine with it. Lunar’s also quite miffed you allowed that Hero of yours to flaunt a cursed weapon around like that. Mortimer, on the other hand, still hasn’t forgiven you for snatching his soul away the first time he died, and even Axel does not condone this senseless conflict centered around your lie of omission. He’s a surprisingly stand-up guy despite being a God of War, you know. As for Solus, Zephyra and Goroth, well, they’re respectively too light-headed, too air-headed and too thick-headed to give a damn about this whole mess, so they’ve just chosen to abstain from it completely.”
Teresa could only glare back in mute silence as she realized all of her fellow deities had given up on her.
“Don’t look at me like that. If you want to blame someone for your current predicament, you need only look into a mirror. It was your selfish desire to create a husband that caused all of this in the first place.”
The Goddess’s eyes went wide and her lip quivered slightly as her secret was suddenly brought to light.
“You-! How did you find out about that?!”
“Puh-lease, sister! You think nobody would notice the last dozen or so Heroes you chose are all hunky, blond, blue-eyed heartthrobs? There are plenty of just and righteous people out there, and yet you always seemed to pick men that are just your type. Then you dote on them relentlessly, doing your darndest to try and keep them safe in the vague hope they’ll Rank Up enough times to stand by your side. It’s so obvious that you might as well have shouted ‘I’m looking for a man’ from the mountaintops! I can understand not wanting to bear eternity all by your lonesome. Believe me, I do! But sharing your divine spark with a mortal just to turn him into your ideal man? The fuck were you thinking?!”
“Fuck you, you little shit!” she spat back. “It’s my Hero, and I’ll do whatever I want with him.”
“Come on, Teresa!” whined Lorna in exasperation. “You know that’s not how it works! The Hero shapes the God just as much as the God shapes the Hero! It’s a give-and-take! A two-way partnership, not some weird mating contract! I mean, it’s not like your choice of Hero this time around was particularly bad or anything. I’ll admit, the young lad could have had a very promising future ahead of him, but that all ended when he died the first time around.”
“You were the one who got him killed in the first place!”
“So what? A dungeon core meltdown, a wild dragon, a bandit ambush, a political assassination, a ravenous venereal disease, old age - something would have gotten to him eventually, this time just happened to be sooner rather than later! But nooo! You had to go and resurrect the guy! He could’ve just passed away in peace, but your pathetic attempt to cling to his shattered potential led him down this self-destructive spiral of hatred!”
Terry took a deep breath to reign in his tangential rant and then spoke with a much more serious tone.
“You knew others were twisting him with lies, and yet you did nothing. You just let the lad believe the Empire’s cause was just when it was all just a big farce. And for what? Just so he could cope with the loss of his friends and family?! Don’t underestimate mortals, you insufferable twat!”
“I think you’re the one overestimating them!” she argued back. “Without our guidance, those idiots would still be beating each other over the head with sticks like a bunch of animals!”
“Oh, so beating each other over the head with a bunch of swords and spells is a lot better is it?!”
“Of course it is! At least there’s purpose behind their actions! My flock were outraged at the destruction of Monotal! They demanded justice be carried out, and were presented with a convenient target! So what if some fucking twigs got hurt in the process so long as my people had closure?!”
“... Can you even hear yourself? Is that supposed to be the sort of attitude befitting a deity embodying the concepts of justice and truth?”
“I am the Goddess of Truth and Justice, so yes! It is!”
“Ugh, it was a rhetorical question, you vapid bitch! Koralenteprix, can you shut her up for a second?”
The archfiend in question silently complied, pressing a hand firmly against the Goddess’s face-hole while tightening the grip on her throat with another.
“You’ve changed, Teresa,” continued George with a solemn tone. “If you were still that headstrong little girl from 3,000 years ago, there was no way you’d stand for that farce of a war being carried out in your name. I mean we’ve all inspired a crusade or two in our time, but this? This just shows how far you’ve strayed from your path. Appeasing your followers has somehow become more important than upholding the core values that give meaning to your very existence. That’s why your Heroes always turn up as failures. That’s why I was able to so easily break into your divine area and subvert your control of it. It’s also the reason why Koralenteprix here is able to toss you about so easily.”
The cloudy representation of Carla visibly drooped its shoulders and sighed with a puff of smoke.
“Face it, Teresa - you’ve long ago stopped being a Goddess of Truth and Justice. What you’ve become instead is something that might as well be the opposite of that - a mere two-faced politician. Therefore, please understand that what’s about to happen next is for your own good.”
“Uhm, Boris? Should I be here for this?”
Boxxy had taken advantage of the suddenly silent atmosphere to ask the question that had been nagging at it for a while now. Every second it spent up here was a second that its body lay unconscious back in the physical realm, so the creature understandably wanted to get back to it right away.
“Hmm? Oh, sorry Boxxy. Uh, yeah, it’s probably best if you got going now. However, I will need to borrow Koralenteprix for this next bit so she will be unavailable for… a few days? Not sure, might take longer. Listen, I’ll have Carl call you when we’re done, okay?”
“Also since a certain someone was so rough in bringing you here, well… it will probably take a few hours for you to wake up. Don’t worry though, your corporeal body isn’t in any immediate danger.”
“Damn, that’s going to be a problem. I’ll deal with it somehow, though. At least I’ll be alive to do so, huh?!”
“That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose.”
“Thanks for saving me, by the way. I know you didn’t necessarily have to.”
“Oh, well, you’re very welcome!”
“Also, sorry about calling you a ‘worthless pieces of shit’ during the fight.”
“Ah, don’t worry about it. It was all in the heat of the moment. Besides, I am mostly using you for entertainment purposes, so if anyone has the right to call me that, it’s you! Just, uh, don’t take that as a free pass to blaspheme all the time, yeah?”
“... But every once in awhile is okay?”
“We all gotta let off steam sometimes, right? The important part is to do so in moderation.”
“Alright, gotcha. I’ll, uh, keep that in mind.”
Jugem then turned towards Teresa, his misty hands pointing alternatively towards his apparition and the Mimic.
“See this?! This is what a Hero-God relationship is supposed to be like! This box - it just fucking gets me you know! No hand-holding, no unreasonable expectations or obligations - just Heroes hero-ing and Gods god-ing with a pinch of mutual understanding for good measure! Anyway, thanks again for the assist, Boxxy. Off you go!”
The astral projection of the Hero of Chaos disappeared with a remote snap of Otto’s paper towels. The Goddess of Flabbergasting then turned to face the muffled and struggling Teresa.
“Now then! Time to start your rehabilitation.”