Heaven Hath No Fury: Two Endings

XIV. Their own free will.

Bowing was not in the nature of either the Minister of Wishes or Punishments, but the weight of each god’s guilt in the face of Miho’s admonishments was considerable.

“Make your choice,” Mieke growled, itching – it seemed – for them to resist so she could justify a bloody approach to their mission.

“We…” Leon began, but Zyglavis finished for him.

“… have bowed enough,” he stated carefully, and continued more quickly when the Goddess of Canes Venatici sharply lifted her chin, “but…

He stepped aside, leaving Leon alone before the throne room doors.

“But,” Zyglavis repeated, “you are right. Punishment is long overdue.”

With deliberate ceremony the doors swung inward, and hand in hand, fingers entwined, Miho and Mieke stepped past Leon and Zyglavis into the throne room.

The greeting the they received was less than gracious, with not a word uttered before a sphere of light, large enough to engulf both goddesses, came barrelling toward them.

“Not unexpected,” Miho dropped, raising her free hand.

Just her palm touched, and a tingle raced through her body as the King’s energy began to diminish, shrink until it was little more than a tiny golden pearl dancing over her fingers.

“Have you nothing to say?” Miho asked, her voice a surprisingly restrained whisper.

“Let me rip an answer from his throat,” Mieke snarled, more eager for carnage than Miho it appeared.

“Then he’d be dead, his suffering short,” Miho pointed out, closing her fist around the bright bead of power.

Quick hiss.

A few sparks.

It was gone.

“I cannot be killed,” the King proclaimed haughtily, then flickered his gaze to Leon and Zyglavis who had moved up to Miho’s right shoulder.

“What’s this?” the King sneered. “Mutiny?”

“I may be the Minister for Wishes,” Leon declared, “but of all those you have wronged in your existence, she most deserves retribution.”

“Do you truly believe she will not steal your stars also?” the King questioned, holding his ground, but when Zyglavis added his piece, there was far less certainty in the celestial monarch’s eyes.

“For my failure to protect her, to stand up for her, to rescue her,” Zyglavis began, “my very own betrayal – I would give her my stars is she requested them.”

“Outrageous!” the King exclaimed.

“But it will be your stars I’ll be taking, Morthwyl.”

All but Miho and Mieke seemed stunned at the pronouncement of this name.

None had heard it before, and yet instantly they knew Miho had spoken the true name of the King of the Heavens.

In shock and horror he stumbled back against his throne, eyes bulging – for her knew the implications.

All confidence fled.

Miho had him exactly where she wanted him.

“Miho!” Karno shouted, he and the other gods running to join Leon and Zyglavis.

“Leave it,” Leon commanded. “It’s over.”

“Yes, it is,” Miho agreed, stepping up to the King, whose attempts to flee were quashed by Mieke.

“Morthwyl,” she said, a hateful word, “give me your stars.”

There was absolutely no hesitation, and just like that, Miho’s tormentor surrendered his power, his immortality, his everything.

And Mieke no longer needed to keep him from running. His body slumped pathetically to the floor at Miho’s feet, all the shine, the luminescence of his presence void.

Slowly, Miho turned to the now sizeable crowd behind her – not just the zodiac gods, but others who now peered at her, flabbergasted – and smiled as she inhaled.

“Now what?” Scorpio asked, blunt as ever despite his mortality.

“Now, I banish this miserable creature to a mortal life on Earth,” Miho replied in a strong, clear voice, looking from god to god, “give you all back your stars, and leave the zodiac gods to govern the Heavens in a way – I hope – that will not necessitate my returning here again.”

“What?” Krioff blinked, and everyone else was just as stunned.

“You’re not going to take the King’s place?” Ichthys blurted, and Miho raised a brow.

“Would you like me to?” she queried, and it was clear Ichthys didn’t know how to answer that question without digging himself into a hole. “I never desired power for power’s sake,” she explained, and there was silence but for the deposed King’s whimpering, “only what I needed to exact my revenge, and prevent this malevolent wretch from causing further suffering.”

“But,” Teorus began, but the rest of his sentence failed when Miho swept her arm in a dramatic arch, starlight floating majestically from her fingertips and coming to rest within the eyes of those to whom they belonged.

Perhaps now – if they all worked together – they could overpower Miho and Mieke and hold them accountable for their act against the King, but the crowd merely parted as Miho stepped toward the exit, Mieke behind her dragging Morthwyl by the collar.

“Where will you go?” Zyglavis asked quietly when Miho reached him, and she paused to look him in the face.

“Away,” she responded, “but never truly far. So don’t fuck this up.”

That was all the goodbye anyone got. The Heavens fell quiet, still, the calm before a storm of insecurity perhaps, but at least freedom from tyranny.

 

In the wake of their triumph, Miho and Mieke laid together, their legs entangled. Blissfully Miho raked her fingers gently through Mieke’s hair, savouring the silky sensation and the softness of her lover’s breath against her breast.

“Think they’ll come looking for you?” Mieke wondered aloud, before kissing against one of Miho’s nipples.

“In the afterglow of victory, you want to talk about them?” Miho scoffed, but her indignation was exaggerated.

“I just want you to be safe, to be free,” Mieke grumbled, tilting her head back to look up into Miho’s face.

“I think we’ve made a pretty good argument for leaving us alone,” Miho smiled, bring her lips closer to Mieke’s, “but if they’re stupid enough to disturb the peace, I’ll destroy them all.”

OR

XV. Made to kneel

Miho’s shadow cast a deep darkness across those at her feet. With their knuckles pressed to the glossy, marble floor outside the King’s throne room, Leon and Zyglavis found it impossible to rise, to move, to defy – though they had made their decision to stay loyal to the status quo.

Even though it was pointless.

“There was a time,” Miho said, eyes cast down at her brother, “I wanted to kill you, Leon.”

Her fingers slipped slowly through his hair, brushing his bangs up then tilting back his head so he could see her standing over him.

“A part of me still does,” she told him thinly, leaning down to whisper. “The ruination of a life, for the ruination of a life.”

“Miho, don’t,” Zyglavis barked, and her head snapped to him, her fingers curling in Leon’s hair and gripping tightly.

“Don’t what? Exact appropriate revenge upon the brother who handed me to a monster on a silver platter?” she growled, and it was echoed by Mieke snarling. “Do you know what he did to me, Zyglavis? How I held my heart so tightly bound because I didn’t want anyone to think for a second I used my power to steal away their free will for my own desire? That is what Leon did – snapped his fingers and had me sprawled, writhing beneath the furious thrust of the King and made me want it!”

Her exclamation was accompanied by the sudden rise of Leon’s body, and as if he was weightless, Miho flung him aside with such force his body cracked and imprint in the marble wall.

Before he could even let out a winded groan, other gods, including the enfeebled Karno, Krioff, Huedhaut and Scorpio came running down the wide hall in their direction. But they all slid to a swift halt when Mieke’s form bulked out into the celestial form of the Goddess of Canes Venatici, and snapped threatening jaws that barred their path.

“She will eat you,” Miho warned with a smirk. “Or at least chew you up and spit you out again; I don’t think she finds you any more tasteful than I do.”

“Miho,” Zyglavis entreated once more, redirecting her ire.

“He’s sitting in that throne room knowing full well what’s transpiring here,” she sniggered, glancing to the large doors behind Zyglavis’ back. “And he will leave you to languish at my mercy because he is a coward.”

It would have been the perfect moment for the King of the Heavens to burst onto the scene and prove Miho wrong – but he did not.

“Cling to that hatred you’ve developed for me, Zyglavis,” Miho began again, reaching for his cheek with her palm sizzling, “because…”

“Hate you?” he frowned, and it was not as a result of imminent pain. “What you’re doing is madness, but whether you believe me or not, I hate myself more for playing a part in what led you here.”

“Your self-deprecation is wasted on me,” she spat, enveloping him in flame and finally more formally announcing her presence to the King.

Zyglavis’ charred body cartwheeled through the immense doors, then skidded across the mirrored floor before slamming into a vacant throne.

The King stood beside it, and didn’t even look down at the smouldering body to his left. His pale eyes staring straight ahead and meeting Miho’s fierce gaze.

“That is quite enough,” the King’s voice rang out, and though his stance was strong, not a single soul missed the tremble in his voice.

“Oh?” Miho chuckled, stepping through the debris alone, while Mieke easily held any resistance at bay. “What now, my love? My greatest, deepest, desperate love? Enough? No no, not yet.”

As she cleared the crunching splinters of lacquered wood and crystal, the King began to gather his strength in blazing wafts of bright divine energy. It gathered from places older than anyone could remember, even the King himself had forgotten perhaps, but Miho seemed entirely unconcerned.

She stood, relaxed and waited.

“Majesty…” Zyglavis croaked, shakily raising himself up on one elbow, his uniform smoking, his skin charred. “Please… she…”

“She has NO power here!” the King roared in an absolutely unheard of display of raw public emotion.

“In one word, I will have all the power,” Miho whispered. “You will give me your stars as willingly as I once gave myself to you.”

“There is no such word,” the King growled. “And I will give you nothing but the end of your miserable existence,” he added arrogantly.

Though his voice had gathered some strength, there was still a kernel of doubt.

“Hmph,” Miho smirked, then admitted, “I nearly gave up. When I couldn’t find it buried anywhere in the Heavens, in no record or archive – then I realised you’d never have allowed it to be recorded.”

“Miho,” Zyglavis entreated once more, and in the split second her gaze shifted to him, the King launched a massive sphere of pulsating power at her.

For a second she was engulfed, muted by the potent luminosity, until tendrils of green flame wreathed in glittering, slithering, aqua shards broke through and revealed her unharmed at the centre.

“You knew if anyone ever discovered your true name,” she persisted unfazed, walking a slow, menacing path toward her target, “they could bring you to heel, and so I abandoned my fruitless quest to find it. Instead…”

“You have nothing!” he laughed, but Miho hadn’t quite finished her sentence.

“… I’m going to give you a new one.”

Any clamouring noise behind them died. All out in the corridor beyond Mieke, who still held back those who might defend the King, fell still and silent.

“Impossible,” the King gasped, readying another attack, greater fury building in his movements until Miho was but a few arms lengths before him.

“We shall see,” she smiled, eyes sparkling galaxies. “The former Goddess of Fate’s influence over what things are and will be, was the first thing I took – the power to re-write fate, after that.”

“It’s not…” the King actually stuttered, stepping backward.

“So I name you…”

All strained to listen, but only Miho and the King himself heard the name she whispered.

His eyes grew wide and the light around him shattered like glass then dimmed to nothing.

“Now give me your stars, you malodorous creature,” Miho hissed, pinching his chin harshly and pulling their faces close. “Then get on your knees and beg for your life.”

Tears touched the chalk of his cheeks, but with his true name on her tongue and in her mind, the King could not resist Miho’s command.

It was more of a slump that dropped him to the floor, shuddering and utterly pathetic in defeat.

“Please,” he murmured in a hoarse appeal, “spare me.”

Though he had done as she asked, Miho was still caught in the moment of receiving stars unlike any others she had stolen. Her senses expanded everywhere, every tiny little corner, and flooded her mind and heart with an almost overwhelming feeling of omnipotence.

“Spare you?” Miho parroted, her voice now carrying with it a dark reverberation. “No.”

As curt as the word itself, was the snapping of barbed, shadowy wires sprawling from Miho’s body and stringing the deposed tyrant up by wrists, neck and ankles.

A spectacle, a demonstration and a warning to any who might consider further overthrow.

“This era ends with you,” she snarled, biting the end off each word.

Then she tore him apart.

Whatever matter made up the former King of the Heavens was ripped asunder. Joints popped, bones broke, and blood sullied the regal décor of the throne room. Mushy piles of what could no longer be recognised as belonging to either man or god, hit the floor and quivered before melting into pools of silver that quickly evapourated.

Exhaling a slow breath, Miho closed her eyes – the moment had been such a long time coming, she wanted to savour it.

“Now what?” Scorpio called from beyond Mieke, the only one to raise his voice amid gods who still had their stars but were stuck dumb by what they had just witnessed.

“Mieke,” Miho dropped, and the huge dog returned to her human form before striding to take her love’s extended hand.

“What difference does it make to you,” Miho said, kissing the back of Mieke’s hand before drawing their bodies together, “if your puppet strings are pulled by a king, or a couple of queens?”

Staggering to his feet and clutching his slowly healing chest, Zyglavis peered at the entwined goddesses as they kissed – passionately, fearlessly.

“She really killed him?” Ichthys piped up, and Karno nodded slowly.

“Looks… like it,” he exhaled, sweeping his eyes to Leon whose head hung.

“What do we do?” a nervous god queried somewhere in the crowd.

“What do you do?” Miho laughed, her voice carrying to every ear in the Heavens. “You do exactly what you’re told, just as you always have.”

Grinning, Miho led her most loyal partner to the throne and sat, before the Goddess of Canes Venatici draped herself comfortably across a welcome lap.

“And,” Miho went on, sifting her fingers lazily through Mieke’s hair, “for you impotent zodiac gods, I have a whole host of ways for you to entertain me.”

“Can we have the King back now?” Ichthys whimpered. “Please?”

“Nope,” Miho snickered flippantly, lolling her head back, “but, little fishy, I guarantee that as each day passes you will wish for his return more and more.”

“And shame we control the wishes now,” Mieke added with a wide grin.

But it was Miho who had the final words.

And the punishments.”

 

WHICH ENDING DID YOU LIKE BETTER?

Heaven Hath No Fury: XI-XII

XI.

“Pathetic,” Miho dropped, disgusted as she stepped over where Pavo laid on his back groaning.

Karno’s expression wasn’t triumphant, however, but abnormally stony given the Goddess of Corvus’ sweep into the picture.

“Why is it that in stories like this,” she sighed in exaggerated sorrow, “minions get thrashed so easily?”

“Would you like an answer to that, or are you just here for my stars?” Karno questioned flatly, stepping to the side as Mieke entered the other end of the room, effectively cutting off any route through which he might escape. “You have some gall coming here.”

“Gall is what it takes to rebuild your life after it’s been ripped from you, Karno,” Miho said, her eyes flashing with a dangerous darkness. “Gall is how you put yourself back together when all you ever held dear is taken away, when even your own body and mind are held captive.”

“What are you talking about?” Karno scowled, and some of Miho’s shadow brightened in surprise.

“You don’t know?”

“Miho, we shouldn’t linger,” Mieke pointed out, and Miho shook off Karno’s attempt to keep her longer than she needed to. “Others will come.”

“Yes, they will,” Karno agreed, but Miho didn’t seem to mind, stepping closer to him.

“Hush now and be still,” she told him sternly, worming her will into his, paralysing him so she could draw within arm’s reach. “At this point, it doesn’t matter who sees me,” she smiled, a slow spreading satisfaction. “I nearly have enough power to bring all this to a close.”

In Karno’s eyes his stars sparkled with the promise that Miho so desperately sought.

“Give them to me,” she demanded, and there was nothing Karno could do but obey.

“What the hell is keeping you so…” Leon began, bursting into the room as was his usual way of doing things.

Instantly Mieke barred her teeth, but Miho simply nudged Karno harmlessly away from her and peered at her brother who stood frozen in shock.

“Hi,” she smiled gently, but she could simply not mask the pleasure she gained from his expression.

______________________

XII.

There was a hole, a really large hole in the living room wall of the gods’ mansion on Earth. Leon had put it there in a raging display of raw emotion that impressed even Krioff.

“So, it was Miho,” Zyglavis exhaled, his expression troubled, and he looked away from the group to the window.

“After what the King did to her, I’m not surprised,” Scorpio snorted, crossing his arms.

“You sympathise?” Krioff growled. “You’re a potato compared to your former self thanks to her.”

“I’m just saying I get it,” Scorpio fired back.

Meanwhile, Leon remained silent, staring at the damage he’d done.

He couldn’t quite decide which emotions were responsible for his loss of control – could he truly say it was anger? Could he be angry at the sister he so brutally betrayed? Was there anything he couldn’t excuse because of that?

Frustration then, that when the culprit stealing stars had been right before him and he had been rendered as impotent as if she’d taken his?

“We have to tell the King right?” Ichthys cringed. “I mean, I didn’t want to last time and I want to even less now but…”

“It would be the right thing to do,” Karno nodded soberly. “And perhaps the only chance we way of getting our stars back.”

“Why didn’t you stop her?” Krioff scowled at Leon, the turn of whose head, the narrowing of his eyes, was nothing short of menacing.

Zyglavis stepped in between them.

“Infighting won’t solve this,” he said evenly, though beneath his skin he was twisting, tensed, wound so tightly he thought he might break. “And whether we think Miho has a right to be angry does not excuse her own crimes. We take this to the King.”

For once, Leon had no voice to argue.

______________________

XIII.

Miho closed her eyes and allowed the warm of Mieke’s hand in hers to fill her mind completely. It kept her grounded though they were a step away from their goal.

Surely they would be waiting for her now, they would confront her before she even reached the King, but that was okay – she wanted it.

 

Leon had lost all sense of time, Zyglavis also. They weren’t there to guard the King per se, though they had both seen the flash of uncertainty visit the until that time indomitable aura of the most powerful being they knew.

Or maybe he wasn’t anymore?

“I could make some witticism about welcoming committees,” Miho said, breaching the silence, “but I don’t want to unnecessarily add to the cliché count.”

“Miho,” Zyglavis began, “we understand why y…”

“I know you do,” she nodded slowly. “Just as I know you know it’s not enough.”

“You cannot disrupt the balance,” Leon frowned, the toss of his head sweeping his fringe to the side dramatically. “Even if you could depose the King, it would cause immense chaos in both the Heavens and on Earth.”

“Would it?” she posed, stepping closer to them with her partner, whose eyes darted between the two other gods. “With the King’s stars, I’ll have his power. What makes you think my Heaven would be worse than his? Am I more monstrous than the creature who has touted balance and yet done so much to so many that has jeopardised it? Did he not when he marked you with sin? And the others? Did that not throttle Heaven’s defences and allow the uprising of the Dark King?”

She had a point, they knew it, but…

“And, in his defence, are you not complicit in the crimes he continues to commit that threaten the lives and happiness of two worlds?” Miho continued, walking until she and Mieke were just out of reach.

“Rhetorical question,” she sniffed, her upper lip curling back in a sneer. “So now I offer you a choice. Move aside of your own will, or be made to kneel.”

ALTERNATE ENDINGS PENDING

 

Heaven Hath No Fury: VI – X

VI.

The King’s radiance seemed to flicker, and even if just for a fraction of a second, the assembled zodiac gods and the two mortals all saw something baffling in his expression.

Uncertainty.

This was the creature who claimed to know all, took great pleasure in fact, in reminding his subordinates frequently how lowly they were in comparison to his astounding power and omniscience – but now there he was having to mask why he knew nothing of the assaults against the former Goddess of Fate and the God of Scorpio.

“So not even you know,” Scorpio dropped, sounding disgusted.

“What does that mean?” Yuka whispered quietly at Leon’s side.

“Only one person has ever been able to dupe the King,” Partheno said sourly.

“The Dark King is dead,” the King declared, full confidence returned to him, and Leon nodded – after all, he’d been the one to do it.

“Yeah?” Scorpio sniffed, tipping his chin irritably. “Then who else did you piss off?”

“Long list,” Ichthys muttered under his breath.

“The perpetrator did not target me,” the King pointed out, but Scorpio remained defiant and confrontational.

“Maybe they should.”

______________________

VII.

“Why didn’t you just kill the God of Scorpio?” Eridani asked, his tone tinged with disgust.

Miho, however, was unimpressed and unmoved.

“Do you want them to kill you?” Pavo sniffed, eyeing where Miho sat with Mieke’s head in her lap, idly sliding her fingers through the other woman’s hair.

“Do you want me, to kill you?” Miho enquired flippantly, leaning her head back a little before lolling it to the side in a languid gesture.

Both Pavo and Eridani shifted uneasily.

Like Mieke, in the end they had chosen to follow Miho rather than the Dark King, and as a result had survived. They knew she was powerful and only growing more so, and that for all her plotting and planning, her deep running rage made her unpredictably dangerous: even to them.

“When this is done,” Miho announced, answering the original question in her own, damned, time, “the Heavens will remain intact, and I may yet have need of powerful gods.”

Pavo scoffed.

“Scorpio? Powerful? He wasn’t even born a god.”

“Which made it all the more impressive he held the position he did,” Mieke sniffed as she lifted her head a little – then she smirked. “Past tense.”

______________________

VIII.

“You gave them once before,” Miho said sadly, not yet touching him. “You weakened yourself for a goddess who, even owing her mortal life to you, chose another lover.”

Huedhaut did not move, but watched her. Surprised as he was to see her, her reappearance, her line of conversation, made the culprit behind Yuka and Scorpio’s star-theft clear.

And now she’d come for him.

“And you know what the King did when your goddess’ precious humans were in peril?” Miho continued, drawing closer still. “Not a whole lot, and then he punished you for doing what you did for the one you loved.”

“I am not giving you my stars, Miho,” Huedhaut told her plainly.

“Don’t be like that,” she smiled, knowingly. “There must be a festering mire of vengeful anger bubbling away beneath that cool exterior.”

“Are you sure that isn’t just your reflection you see?” he posed, and Miho snapped, sweeping forward and lifting him from his feet.

Do not resist,” she hissed, her upper lip peeled back over her teeth, and though there was some initial defiance, Huedhaut’s body fell slack within a few seconds. “I thought you of all gods, would understand.”

“I understand,” Huedhaut croaked. “But I refuse to become a monster in order to defeat one.”

______________________

IX.

The tree’s skeleton shattered as Miho’s body connected heavily with its trunk. Splintered, smouldering white shards fell with contrasting grace into the murky water that ultimately cushioned the goddess’ inelegant landing; Krioff glared balefully as Miho sat up.

“So it’s you,” he dropped, a caustic sound flaring with anger. “How could you? We were your friends once.”

“Once,” Miho growled as she dragged her sopping body up, hair sticking to her face. “You know what it’s like to be an outcast, Krioff. Well me too. Total. Abandonment.”

Even as she spoke, the flames encircling Krioff’s right hand grew, leaping from his skin in wrathful curls, but over its rumble and hiss a deeper growl sounded.

The monstrous grey hound pounced on the God of Destruction, knocking him down and clamping jaws around his blazing arm. Though momentarily the creature seemed to sizzle, a sudden shower doused the inferno, and though Krioff willed the flames forth once more, he found his power suppressed.

“I understand why you still struggle,” Miho exhaled, stepping up to the divine form of the Goddess of Canes Venatici who held Krioff down, placing a gentle, loving hand against her wet fur. “It’s why I, still struggle.”

______________________

X.

“You’re seriously going to make us cook for ourselves?” Krioff scowled at Leon.

“You were stupid enough to get your stars stolen,” Leon smirked haughtily.

“Why isn’t this water getting hotter?!” Scorpio shouted in frustration.

Hue, sitting in the corner of the kitchen, just calmly shook his head and returned to his book.

“Leon,” Krioff reasoned, which was something for him. “You didn’t hear Scorpio screaming at the potatoes the last time he tried to cook.”

“I will kill you!” Scorpio threatened… the pot of water sitting on the unlit gas stovetop, while Karno patiently tried to explain the igniter and the dangers of too much gas.

“What’s all the yelling?” Ichthys quipped, joining the growing melting pot.

“Clearly this is another example of the Punishments Department falling short,” Leon snickered, and Krioff really ruffled.

“Press this and turn that,” Karno explained, but even he was now shaking his head.

“Heh,” Ichthys grinned, discreetly clicking his fingers.

At a sudden rush of heat, both Karno and Scorpio jumped back from the stove, as the water in the saucepan bubbled and then exploded in flames.

Slowly, Hue lowered his book a little and raised an eyebrow.

“Scorpio burns water?”

“Punishments,” Leon snorted, extinguishing the flames in a snap and shooting an infuriating look of superiority at Scorpio. “I rest my case.”

Heaven Hath No Fury: I – V

I.

“Get off me, dog,” Zyglavis growled, even as Mieke’s teeth broke the surface at his throat, but before he could spit another rumbling insult, Miho had firmly taken his chin, pressing lacquered fingernails into his skin.

“That dog,” she hissed, right against his lips though her eyes blazed fiercely into his, “is a hundred thousand times more loyal than the likes of you.”

“You think I wanted this?” he coughed out, falling still – and he ceased struggling, despite the blood dribbling down his neck. “I loved you!”

I love her now,” Mieke snarled, snapping her teeth at his ear, but she paused when Miho straightened and stepped back.

“Tell me where I can find the King’s name,” Miho demanded, but she could not quite wipe the winded expression off her face.

“His name?” Zyglavis blinked, adding confusion to the mess of his emotions. “Why… why would something like that be in the archives?”

______________________

II.

Miho’s arm swung limply to the rhythm of Mieke’s hurried steps. Depleted, having used the very limit of her power to suppress Zgylavis’ memory of the goddesses’ incursion, she clung to consciousness. Perhaps if she’d kept all the defeated Dark King’s power for her own she might have made a more dignified escape – perhaps she could even have punished Zyglavis in the way he truly deserved to be punished.

As it was, his reward would have to be inflicted upon him another day.

“I can hear you thinking,” Mieke told her softly, as they slipped from the Heavens. “There will be another way.”

“Yes,” Miho hissed weakly. “There is.”

______________________

III.

“Has anyone ever told you, you have the most beautiful eyes, Yuka?” Miho smiled, the Planetarium lights flashing behind her.

The younger woman blushed, her body telling the tale of shyness and modesty, but Miho maintained her close proximity.

“Something sparkles, deep within them,” she continued softly, and though Yuka’s posture stiffened, she didn’t flinch away when the back of Miho’s fingers brushed against her cheek. “Something… I need.”

“Miho?” Yuko frowned in bewilderment.

“This won’t hurt you,” Miho whispered, leaning in, sliding her thumb to the girl’s lips, “but it will destroy my brother: your lover.”

“Leon?”

“I’m going to take the zodiacs apart,” Miho declared, reaching through Yuka’s skin, through flesh and beyond though she left no mark – reaching into what she had once been, “and I’m going to use your stars to do it.”

______________________

IV.

The moment Scorpio’s palm slid under Miho’s blouse and touched against the flesh of her abdomen, his eyes widened in shock. He might have recoiled, but Miho snatched his wrist and held him to her.

Suddenly he knew her.

“I want you to see,” she crooned, sliding her index finger down his cheek slowly.

“Get off me!” he snapped, attempting to shove her back, but he found her by far more powerful than he remembered.

“You owe him, I understand that,” Miho declared, her lips twisting toward a sneer, “but I also know you’ve seen and felt the monster lurking behind that bastard’s luminous smile.”

“Revenge?” he snapped, but he’d seen as much in her thoughts – all of them from start to finish.

And he could not deny the King deserved it.

“But you can’t,” he scowled. “If you do…”

“… the pain, stops,” Miho filled in dryly. “The twisted, arrogant superiority complex that drives him, and the belief because he can, he is entitled to… ends.”

Her hazel eyes narrowed on his and reached forth with invisible claws.

“And you, the mortal made god, the stars he gifted you, will help me tear him down.”

“Chaos will…” he began, but her fingertip to his lips silenced him.

“Shhh,” she whispered gently. “This won’t hurt, and you won’t even remember.”

MihoDhibiGoddess

V.

“How is this even possible?” Teorus questioned, a frown clinging to his pretty brow. “First Yuka, and now Scorpio?”

The aforementioned god, now effectively as powerless as a human once more, did not respond with his usual venom. He had no answer.

Yuka remained in Leon’s arms, arms flexed taught with anger though the young woman hadn’t really lost all that much in the grand scheme of her everyday life.

“Who would even dare?” he spat, glowering at Scorpio with sharp imperative. “Remember something.”

“Why don’t you ask your goldfish, you pathetic lion?” Scorpio retaliated, finally finding his tongue.

“Goldfish?” Leon repeated waspishly. “Look. Who’s. Talking.”

“Arguing like this isn’t going to solve this mystery, nor find the one responsible,” Zyglavis put in, ever the cool head.

“Maybe we should tell the King?” Ichthys offered, but he didn’t look as if he much liked the idea – probably because he was constantly getting into strife.

“Assuming he’s not responsible,” Dui put in.

“Would he really go that far?” Teorus frowned. “I mean he’s done some pretty dubious things but, Scorpio is like his favourite.”

“I wouldn’t put anything past that sadistic prick,” Scorpio grumbled, a statement much more like his usual self.

Heaven Hath No Fury: Original Sin

“Leon!”

It was the most animated Miho had been in… she didn’t know how many days and nights had passed in seclusion. Her body actually ached when she stood she had been sitting stationary for so long, just staring into the reflecting pool – watching Earth ebb and flow, but powerless to influence it in any way.

The arrival of her brother was unexpected; the King had told her no one would find her, no one could see her – if she was going to be petulant, stubborn, if she insisted on defying him, then she would do so alone.

“How did you even find me?” she gasped, stopping sort of hugging the man who, looked unusually… disturbed.

“You’ve been wishing so hard,” he pointed out in an attempt at casual. “Think I couldn’t hear you?”

“Heard and unanswered,” she pointed out, drawing herself up.

The Goddess of Corvus was not short, but Leon was still taller. In their childhood he’d always loomed over her, and even as adults it seemed when they were simply side by side, he was an immense tower.

Now, however, he seemed somehow so much smaller – not even his shadow could touch her.

“This, this is unbearable,” she growled. “Brother please, help me escape this nightmare.”

Hesitantly his answer came.

“I… am here to grant your wish,” he declared, but he sounded so unsure, and this concerned Miho deeply.

“Then let’s get out of here,” she urged, taking his hand, but her usually confident, arrogant brother did not budge.

In fact, he cast his eyes to the ground.

“What?” she frowned. “I wished to be freed from this purgatory, so free me.”

“I… must also grant the wish of the King,” Leon said, his voice quiet, his voice incongruously diminutive with every other memory Miho had of him.

The King’s wish.

Miho’s chest clenched.

“And what, exactly, has he wished for?” she questioned.

But she already knew.

He had already gone so far as to strip her of her title and position, and to cloister her away on an isolated estate from which she could not use her power – and she had not broken. Her consent was all he could not take by force.

But he could wish for it.

“He wished you’d fall in love with him,” Leon answered after a short pause, “and I have to grant it.”

“No,” she hissed, balling her fists and scowling at him. “Why would you… how could you even think of granting that?”

“No one defies the King, Miho,” Leon pointed out, and this caused true rage to blossom across her pale features.

I defied the King!” she roared, eyes blazing.

“And look where it got you,” he volleyed. “You won’t even remember this, you’ll be happy,” he added, but this had the opposite of its intended effect.

“No, I won’t,” she snarled, backing away from him like there was somewhere she could run where it would make a scrap of difference. “You would betray your own family for that… monster?”

“He’s the King, Miho,” Leon retaliated, stepping toward her, but she scurried back like he meant to physically assault her.

“He’s taken enough!” she barked, but her voice had become thick and panicked. “Don’t… don’t take my free will too, don’t make me his slave.”

Brows knitted, Leon struggled. He was himself powerful, but the King was something else entirely. It was not that he feared the repercussions of defiance per se, would never admit to fear, but he had to rationalise what might happen if a minister such as himself was to disobey – others might also, chaos could allow evil to gain a foothold.

And to prevent this, all he had to do was sacrifice his sister to a creature who, even he had to admit, was the single most selfish being he’d ever encountered.

“I’m sorry, Miho,” he exhaled finally, lifting his hand slightly, fingers poised, and full force horror exploded in his sister’s eyes.

“Leon!”

The light touch of gold-spun hair tickled against Miho’s cheek – and she smiled up at the King who hovered over her. Though the hands that held her down gripped tightly, possessively, there was a gladness in her heart that sang amid the shortening length of her breathing.

“Your Majesty,” she exhaled, unable to blink for fear his angelic presence would vanish.

Her body hummed so powerfully for the want of it him it was almost painful: a deep, aching, burning resonance, as much a part of herself as the lips that longed to kiss him, the heart that beat for him, and the warm, wetness of her core that desperately beckoned him inward.

“Tell me what you desire,” he commanded, the twist of his lips a smirking, arrogant tease in which she saw only benevolence.

“Ahh,” she groaned, the torment of his rigid length rubbing just between her legs, so infuriating she could barely form a coherent response. “My King, fill me so…”

Her response, as she had spoken it then, continued in a gushing overflow of sexual yearning and hyperbolic banalities – while an unseen figure at the bedside loomed like a storm cloud flashing with violence.

“I desire the crush of your throat beneath my palms, to feel bones bend and snap,” Miho’s shadow snarled, unheard and glaring at the monster king as he forced the air from her past-self with the crush of his body. “I desire the slide of your entrails through my fingers, slick and slippery with the last of your malodourous life, and I want to see the light of the stars leave your eyes, your last thought regret you ever crossed me.”

Revulsion rose into her throat as her-past self moaned incomprehensibly.

Glowing, sweaty, dominated and enraptured by complete and unparalleled worship, this pathetic ghoul of her former self, wrapped around the most powerful creature in all the heavens; and though she knew now his perverse heart had no true capacity for love, her past-self loved him with such brutal dedication it very nearly tore her apart.

But as she reached out now to pull him away, knowing what she did, knowing he would tire of her and cast her so thoughtlessly aside, her hand passed through him.

An incorporeal observer of the past, her rage and frustration were the only things with true substance.

Yet she was suddenly tethered, unable to recoil, and just as the King had all but suffocated her with his unchecked want for control over her then, Miho felt herself slipping back beneath him and the wish her brother had granted.

“GET OFF!” she roared, sitting bolt upright in the cold, dark room.

The power of her exclamation was so extreme, the blankets flew apart, the fabric shredded and sent scattering around the space.

In surprise, woken so suddenly from fitful slumber, the slender, pale and naked figure that had been curled against Miho’s body, flinched to wakefulness and the urgent gasping of her companion.

“Miho,” a soft voice whispered, and a gentle hand sought fingers clasping the sheets in a vice like grip. “You are awake now.”

Angrily the Goddess of Corvus sobbed out the remnants of sleep, and the sensation of pressure within that was nothing short of the most heinous violation.

“The nightmare is over,” her lover told her, her other hand sliding slowly up Miho’s exposed spine to the nape of her neck. “Retribution is soon, is now.”

“I know, Mieke,” Miho panted, grasping for calm, “and it will be such a reckoning.”

“And I will help you,” Mieke smiled, rising up on her knees and snuggling into Miho’s back, and wrapping her deceptively thin arms around the other goddess’ neck. “And keep you safe.”

What grace she’d lost in forsaking the Heavens – what pain she’d suffered in knowing the truth – those ragged edges of memory still deep in her mind and flesh were smoothed by honest words and honest intimacy. The Goddess of Canes Venatici, savage and vicious in her most powerful form, lapped gently against the ghostly wounds that still bled in Miho’s soul; and the vengeful rage swirling within became a little less tumultuous… for a few hours.

Heaven Hath No Fury: Prologue

It was the one day in the Heavens where gods could make wishes, and these words passed from the lips of the King to the Minister of the Department of Wishes.

The older brother of Miho, Goddess of Corvus.

He knew his sister’s shadow had been crowded by the King most recently, but that she, like him perhaps, was not one to bow so easily.

Her position among the gods, her role in the Heavens, and perhaps most poignantly the nature of her power, had led her to live a life resistant to romantic entanglements – for if she had the ability to seduce a person, convince them to do what she desired with just her words alone, she feared anyone for whom she developed fondness might question if their reciprocation was their own will, or hers.

She refused to set herself up for heartbreak like that.

And so she chose to love no one, and allowed no one to love her.

But the Goddess of Corvus, whose talents were best used for convincing the souls of the dead to move on to their next incarnation, was beautiful, perhaps even more so in that she had made herself unattainable. Myriad gods and goddesses tried to woo her, but she was impervious, isolating herself but for the relationships she required for her work, most often with the Department of Punishments.

Through this, the cool, often frightening God of Libra, narrowed his steely gaze upon the goddess and sought to change her mind. It took years of subtle suggestion and persistence, clear statements of intention and infallible follow-through, before Zyglavis could even get her to entertain the possibility of allowing him into her heart.

Doubt, however, was always there. She wondered when he would turn around and accuse her of deception, accuse her of manipulating his feelings for her own ends; of this, she could never quite let go.

These changes in her, the slowly developing bond between she and Zyglavis did not go unnoticed.

Ever selfish and flippant in his complete disregard for anyone other than himself, the King of the Heavens called Miho to him, and expressed his decision to make her his.

Like her brother, she was defiant.

It was not out of disrespect of course, and who would not have been flattered by compliments from that silver tongue? That magnificent creature? Who would not appreciate the benefits one would receive from such courtship? Miho understood all these things, but she had only just come to open herself up to Zyglavis, Zyglavis who had worked so hard to earn her guarded trust – and the King, for all the dominion he held, was not to be trusted.

Callous.

Demanding.

Even malicious.

Rejection was met with not unexpected retribution.

The King forbade her from seeing Zyglavis completely, stripped her of her position and exiled her to isolation where only he might visit, but the more he pushed, the more resolute Miho became. He could not command her to love him.

Leon demanded his sister be released, facing down the King to whom he was second in power, but the King was unmoved. Zyglavis’ protests also fell upon deaf ears, and so the Goddess of Corvus remained in her divine cage, an unwilling and increasingly melancholy pet.

And then came that night, that single night each year when the wishes of the gods themselves could be granted – and to Leon’s ears came a most insistent wish:

“I wish for the Goddess of Corvus to fall blindly, passionately in love with me.”

Many times the King had wrought unhappiness upon those he claimed to love, toying with their feelings, testing their loyalty and expecting nothing short of absolute obedience. If there was one law no one ever broke, it was that the orders of the King were inviolate.

Still he could not command her to love him… but he could, on that day require her own brother to fulfil a wish that would steal away her free will.

Testing the King’s patience, Leon visited her, the normally arrogant god humble in his apology to her – he would have to comply, this wish would be granted, and she would never even know how she had been so terribly wronged. All she would understand was an all-consuming want for the King’s affections, an unreserved and blinkered need, and a soul-deep love she could not, nor would not want to, question.

When it was done, the King welcomed Miho into his arms, lavishing unparalleled adoration upon her, and she felt happy beyond any measure she had ever known. She thought nothing of the doubts she’d harboured over taking chances with Zyglavis, in fact thought nothing of Zyglavis at all. Upon the King’s arm, a superb trophy, she thought only of how she might best please him.

And she did, at his every whim, her desperation to bring him the utmost pleasure, nullifying any concept that this splendiferous immortal had taken something from her that could never be given back.

Something she might once have given to Zyglavis.

Perhaps he should have fought harder for her, if he had truly, genuinely loved her? But he did not, had to live knowing Miho laid with the King not actually through choice, and it was a dreadful burden of pain that haunted him – it haunted him even after the fickle King’s lust for Miho waned.

Though she gave him everything, the Goddess of Corvus soon found even her most daring, displays of devotion for the King were not enough to keep him interested. He shunned her, disinterested, dismissed her, treated her like a ghost – a whisper of the past even though for her he was so intensely the focus of her present.

And she diminished, became a pining shadow slowly eaten away by unrequited love.

The perfect prey, a perfect weapon for the likes of the Dark King.

Though sealed away long, long ago by the King himself, the Dark King was not so ill informed as one might think. Through minions, deities likewise disgruntled by the King’s cruelty, the Dark King saw Miho as an ideal tool with which to strike at the King and the Minister for the Department of Wishes both.

He sent his strongest ally to visit upon her in the dead of night, when her pillow was already heavy with tears, to lift the veil obscuring the truth.

Into her receptive ear he poured promises of vengeance, fanning the flames of her now unbridled outrage, of love upturned, turned sour, turned vitriolic. He offered his hand, his help, and readily she took it – for what was left there in the Heavens for her but objects of ire?

Rumour had it she simply vanished, willing herself out of existence. Other gossip said the King himself had banished her from the Heavens. Another story suggested he’d killed her for denying him. Not even the King knew where she had gone, but speak of her brought about his wrath, and in time Miho, Goddess of Corvus, became a distant memory to all but a scarce few.