Chapter 9:

The Big Karbowski

The Gift That Keeps On Grieving

“You want me to kill Troy?” Merry frowned. “I… can’t do that. I don’t want to kill anyone else, not again.”

Anesidora facepalmed, throwing herself back onto the bed. “Listen, Merry, the fate of humanity rests in your painfully average hands. And besides, if you do this for me…” Anesidora smirked, leering at Merry. “If you do this for me, I’ll remove your succubus tail and restore your humanity.”

Merry’s eyes lit up. Anesidora would turn her back into a human if she managed to kill the demon Troy? All of her fears of standing out would be gone and she could go back to living a normal life, sans the fact that she was imprisoned in Aluminum Pigeon.

“If I get rid of this evil succubus, you’ll turn me back into a human girl?” Merry inquired.

“You have my word,” Anesidora beamed.

“Alright then,” Merry smiled, puffing out her chest. “Tomorrow morning, I’m gonna pay CJ a visit…”


Chapter 9: The Big Karbowski

December 6th, fifth full day at Aluminum Pigeon Penitentiary, 3:00 AM…

Merry cautiously looked around as she stood outside cell number 180. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to be outside of her own cell at such early hours of the day, but she didn’t care. At that moment in time, there was only one thing on the prisoner’s mind – Becoming human again. She took a deep breath, her hand trembling as she slowly, slowly opened the cell door and crept inside. All she had to do was find the succubus that had granted CJ his powers, stab him with her tail and save the world. Heh, no biggie… right?


The creaking sound of the metallic door reverberated around the cell walls as Merry looked around for any signs of a succubus. Nothing.

As the noise dissipated, it was replaced by the low humdrum snoring of a fellow Aluminum Pigeon inmate. Merry turned her attention to the two beds on either side of cell number 180 – One was completely empty, whereas the other had a noticeable lump under the cover.

“That must be CJ,” Merry muttered as she tiptoed over to the bed. If she were to wake the man up and explain that Troy was using him, maybe he’d be willing to tell her where she could find the demon? “It’s certainly worth a shot…”

Merry leaned down, prodding the lump with her pointer finger.

“Hey, uh, you probably don’t know me, but there’s something that I need to ask you…”

…No response. He was fast asleep. Merry stood back up, letting out a sigh. She looked behind her, staring at the devillike tail hidden underneath the leg of her opaque nylon tights. Anesidora promised that she’d turn me back to normal if I found Troy. What other choice do I have?

Merry grabbed a fistful of bedsheet in either hand and pulled, removing the covers from the bed and exposing CJ’s body… Except it wasn’t CJ. It was the glasses-wearing black-haired girl from earlier, but instead of the Aluminum Pigeon Penitentiary uniform, her figure was now adorned with a purple camisole and matching boyshorts.

“Huh, what’s going on?” the nightwear-clad girl yawned, rubbing her dreary emerald eyes with one hand as she reached for her nearby glasses with the other. As she adjusted her black-framed spectacles, her eyes were assaulted with the image of another girl standing over her bed, quilt in hand.

“Th-this isn’t what it looks like,” Merry blurted out, blushing as she quickly turning away from the indecently exposed prisoner.

“Y-you pervert! You think that you can just p-peep at a girl while she’s sleeping‽”

“You’ve got the wrong idea,” Merry awkwardly assured her. “I believe we’ve met before, albeit briefly. My name’s Marisa Christmas, but my friends call me ‘Merry’. And you?”

“…Jojo,” the bespectacled girl replied cautiously, covering her nightly delicates with her hands. “It’s Jodie Karbowski, but most people just call me ‘Jojo’.”

Merry sighed, letting go of the quilt, which Jojo promptly snatched and wrapped around her almost naked body. This girl clearly wasn’t the person that Merry was looking for. It didn’t make any sense – Merry was sure that she was supposed to find CJ in cell number 180. Had she misremembered the number that was written on the man’s shirt – The only lead that she had to the demon Troy’s whereabouts?

I guess it doesn’t really matter, Merry thought. This world, the world that has cruelly cast me by the wayside time and time again, isn’t worth saving anyway..

Merry felt tears beginning to emerge from her eyes, trickling across her cheek and eventually falling to the cell floor. No, that’s not true. There are people in this rotten world that I want to protect. Friends, family…

“H-hey,” Jojo said, interrupting Merry’s train of thought. “What are you crying about?”

“Heh,” Merry chuckled meekly, flashing the other girl a dejected smile. “I have no idea. Here I am shamelessly crying in another inmate’s cell, after exposing said inmate’s almost-naked body for seemingly no reason... My whole life has become one sick joke, and I’m the fucking punchline. You must think I’m pathetic, huh?”

“N-no, I don’t think you’re pathetic,” Jojo assured her, stepping out of her bed and walking over to Merry. “Why don’t you just calm down and tell me why you’re here?” she asked, placing a hand on the succubus girl’s shoulder.

“I-I was looking for someone else, but I guess I musta gotten the cell number wrong,” Merry apologized sheepishly. “A-anyway, I think I should probably just go back to my own cell now, before I end up embarrassing myself any further…”

“Hey, wait a second,” Jojo called out as Merry began to walk away. “You’re looking for CJ, aren’t you?”

Merry stopped in her tracks. Did this girl know where CJ was? Maybe she’d also know something about Troy?

“How did you--”

“A lot of people have taken notice of my cellmate as of recent,” Jojo explained. “Not that I’m surprised since he grew a fricking tail overnight. Of course people would notice that!”

“So CJ’s your cellmate? Do you know where he is right now?”

“The courtyard,” the pajama-clad girl replied nonchalantly. “He’s been hanging out there a lot as of late.”

“Th-thanks so much,” Merry beamed as she bolted out of cell number 180.


Jojo sighed deeply as she removed her glasses from her pale face.

“Marisa Christmas,” she muttered, cleaning her lenses with the bottom of her camisole. “I sure hope that girl knows what she’s getting herself into.”

The girl walked over to the toy horse that was positioned on her nightstand and caressed it with her left hand.

“So that girl must be in league with the succubus that Troy warned us about…”

Kuromaru (クロまる)