"Please hurry, goddess."
What was this human thinking, pushing her around to "hurry"? She was one of the seven goddesses of the world! Even if she couldn't smite him on the spot, there were at least five ways she could think of off the top of her head to torture him until he begged her for mercy.
"Was it Kemia? Histia? Tell me exactly what my sister said," she demanded as she followed the running Samuel through the snowy forest.
"Huff…it was Mafia. She said that…puff…she was bored and was going to kill us all," Samuel wheezed.
"Mafia..." Casia mumbled. "I see. I'll help you, then. Leave her to me."
The midday sun reflected off of the snow compressed by the hundreds of frantic footsteps of the citizens of the city of Shope.
"She has arrived with her ultimatum," Samuel observed solemnly as they stepped through the gates. "We now entrust our lives to you, Lady Casia."
"Like I said, my name is Casia. Just Casia." Mortals and their dim-wittedness never failed to impress her with their terrible memories and comprehension abilities. "Don't worry about Mafia," she said, waving at a young boy glimpsing at them through a gap in a window. "Just make sure none of you people get in my way."
Samuel bowed as they reached the town square. "As you wish,." He stepped ahead of her toward a group of old men in heavy jackets who were gesturing wildly at a bored-looking young woman sitting cross-legged on the rim of the frozen fountain, her hands casually placed behind her to support her position.
The woman looked up at their arrival and beamed upon catching Casia's eye, waving cheerfully. "Hey, Cassie! How're you doing?"
Samuel excused himself and the old men and huddled them together, whispering rapidly. Casia put her hands on her hips and frowned at the woman. "Mafia, what's happening? Some mortal complained to me about some threat you made to destroy all their food or something."
Mafia laughed, waving the matter off with a hand. "Oh, that? I was just having some fun. Even if we can't control mortal humans directly, that just makes it a little more challenging, you know?"
Casia was not amused. "What game?"
Leaning forward and resting her chin on the backs of her hands, Mafia smiled coldly. "Don't you ever want to see how they'll react when you make all of their food rotten? Maybe they'll fight among each other, breaking out in civil war," she gushed. "Their city's no doubt going to crumble as they know it, but think about how they might run to other settlements, how the children will be orphaned, or even how the people are slowly going to lose hope and give into despair! How much stress can society take before it shatters? It's just so much more interesting when you can see exactly what every person's thinking!"
Casia was silent for a few moments. It did seem like a good experiment — for sure Fisia and Kemia would agree without hesitation. However... She looked back at Samuel, who wiped his brow as he scribbled over pieces of paper and handed them out to the elders, pointing them in every direction.
What he had said on their multi-hour run back to Shope about each person in the city...
From the various buildings facing the town square, she could feel the gazes of dozens of the people who lived in their village, each with their own aspirations and hopes.
The boy on the second floor of the barber's shop, who wanted to get better at his craft and cut his own hair so that he might be able to spend more time with the girl he liked whenever she came to get a haircut — how foolish.
The girl training to take over her parents' apothecary, constantly lathering products in her hair in the hopes that it might grow faster and so she might be able to visit her friend at the barber's more often — doubly foolish.
The boy and the girl's parents, who looked on at the obvious schemes of their children with amusement but encouragement — it was very irresponsible of them.
Their futures now depended on her actions today.
"Mafia, I'm afraid that I can't support this. Please do not interfere with the matters of Shope from now on. I'll revert anything you try to do."
"You're no fun," Mafia sighed, brushing the snow off of her pants as she stood and turned away from her. "I don't see why you care so much about mortals. Whatever. I guess I'll just come back when you're not looking." She winked at Casia.
"That...will never happen!" Casia called after her sister. "I'll stay here the whole time and protect this city! I'll watch over it to make sure you or anyone else lays a finger on it!"
That stopped Mafia from walking out of the city. "Oh, really?" She smirked. "You're going to chain yourself to these mortals? I wonder how long it'll take before you get bored too."
Casia glanced at the faces in each home that regarded their conversation.
"I know you very well, Cassie. In a few thousand years, you're going to grow bored. I'll keep an eye on this place for when that happens.."
"I will not!"
"Whatever you say, sister. See you then!" Mafia strode off. None of the elders or Samuel dared to stop her.
After Samuel made sure that Mafia had exited the city, he raised his open palm in the air, and then slowly closed it.
Cheers erupted around the city as people swarmed out of the homes and shops. Samuel himself held his clenched fist up in the sky triumphantly for a few more moments before he joined Casia by the frozen fountain.
"Thank you for your assistance. We will never forget our debt to you," his eyes were shining as he and the elders behind him kneeled in front of her, "our patron goddess. We must construct a shrine! Let this day be marked as the Day of the Goddess — a day of celebration and offerings as a reminder to the benevolence of our divine leader!"
Casia let out a small smile as she nodded firmly at Samuel's proposition. With offerings and a city of citizens in her debt, who could grow bored?