Chapter 3:

A Second Chance


Content Warning: Child abuse, graphic violence, gore


Imagine a terrestrial planet larger than the Solar System, and imagine that planet was empty inside. The spherical hollow within the planetoid had a radius of six billion kilometers, and the surface area of the gape, the underside of the planet’s surface, was over eighteen sextillion square miles. This interior surface was blessed with myriad oceans and continents, and there was a breathable atmosphere that allowed life to flourish, even humans. Normally the seas, the land, and all creatures would fall to the center of the planet by the pull of gravity, but this didn’t happen thanks to something called the Nucleus.

The Nucleus was a white hole, the opposite of a black hole. While a black hole pulls in matter and energy, a white hole ejects matter and energy. Located in the center of the planet, the Nucleus released waves of gravity outward that overpowered the normal pull of gravity towards the planet’s center. Everything was pushed away from the Nucleus and thus into the underside of the planet’s surface. This meant you could stand and walk on the inner surface, and the normal structures you’d see on a planet’s exterior could be found on it. That said, since you’d be on the underside of the surface, the curve of the land would go in the opposite direction to the downward curve of a planet’s outer surface. Thus, nothing was hidden behind a horizon. Instead you could see landmasses and seas that were kilometers away. When you looked up, in place of a sky you would see the Nucleus, which resembled a white sun, and the opposite side of the inner surface.

“How could anyone see?” you may be asking. “You’d be inside the planet, there should be no light.” That’s where the second thing the Nucleus ejected came in. The white hole also produced light with special properties. It not only lit up the inside-out world in eternal daytime, the light transmuted carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into fresh air, and the light cooled things rather than heated them, which prevented the planet’s interior from becoming a giant oven. The Nucleus was the one thing that kept this world functioning.

And yet there were also things that defied the influence of the Nucleus.

Seven normal sized planets existed within the colossal planet, and they revolved around the Nucleus like planetoids around a star. This meant the planets were defying the gravity of the Nucleus that should have pushed them away. These mysterious celestial bodies were coveted places to colonize by humans in the past given they allowed for a great position to look down at anywhere on the inner surface, even one’s enemies. Since more modern technologies had been invented, mechanical satellites were used for the purpose of surveillance instead of the planets which became simple trophies to flaunt.

This inside-out realm was called Underworld, and it was the setting for the plot of Al-Kimiya.

Of the seven planets, the farthest from the Nucleus, Bulukiya, was a paradise of spotless seas and continents made of crystals in every color imaginable. Gemstones formed mountains that made Olympus Mons look tiny, or were carved into cities following various Islamic architectural styles.

On Bulukiya, nestled atop a plain covered in bioluminescent flowers, was a palace made primarily of white crystal that was the size of a small city. Grand domes acted as crowns for the structure while towers cast long shadows. Stained glass windows colored the Nucleus’ light and painted the white canvas of the crystal that the palace was made from. Geometric patterns created by carving the walls and doors, or that were made with tiles applied to surfaces, turned every vault or iwan style hall into its own art piece.

Such a palace was an icon of opulence.

Many of the rooms contained floor seating common to Muslim countries. They had carpets, pillows were everywhere, and tracing the edges of walls were couches so short they were barely higher than the ground itself.

In one of these rooms, an open air one that sat at the peak of a high tower, was a little girl. She was reading a scroll while leaning on her side atop one of the couches. Pillars of stacked books and piles of scrolls surrounded her, nearby shelves having been picked bare for every piece of knowledge available. A light breeze traveled through the space thanks to there being one less wall than normal. Where one wall should have been was instead an opening with a short wooden screen that acted like a railing. This aperture granted a perfect view of much of the palace, the flower field and crystal mountains, and even beyond Bulukiya to the inner surface of Underworld.

Despite the awe inspiring sight, the girl only focused on the literature she was studying.

She had only recently turned seven years old, physically at least. Like everyone in her home country of Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah, she had very dark skin, said skin making her cyan eyes and long magenta hair pop. At the time the girl wore white shalwar pants and a red kameez tunic, both given the flourish of gold embroidery. The fabric was the best available in the country. The girl’s face was as adorable as possible. Even as a child, she could be considered physically ‘ideal’, as that was what she was designed to be. Atop her head was an ahoge, a long thin hair that shot up before curving back down and reaching all the way down to where her neck was.

This girl was Scheherazade, the main waifu of Al-Kimiya.

Also, this girl was me.

I died, and after spending over one hundred years as a ghost, I had been reborn into a world that mirrored that of the anime I despised the most, and as the character who rode the main character’s metaphorical dick more than any other.

Scheherazade in the anime was a stereotypical tsundere with some ojou-sama elements sprinkled in. Her butt length twintails were shaped into those logic defying ringlet drills ojou-sama characters sometimes had. They were so big that they were nearly as big as the rest of Scheherazade’s whole body. She was the type of tsundere who almost immediately caught feelings for the main character after he was slightly nice to her and showed off how strong he was, and so she oscillated between being mean to the protagonist, being hopelessly smitten with him, and fighting cattily with the other girls in the harem over his attention.

And now I was that girl.

My life had somehow become an isekai plot. It was absurd to the point that it was difficult to process due to its surreality.

The question of how this happened was something I pondered for years, but eventually gave up on given I had no clear way to find out.

Part of me was bothered that, since I was born in Scheherazade’s body, the original Scheherazade’s personality would never come to exist, and thus was essentially killed by me. I had to reconcile with this fact by focusing on how I didn’t intend to reincarnate into Scheherazade’s body, and thus I held no fault. That said, I had many nights where I stared up at the ceiling while in bed, drenched in cold sweat as my guilt over having supplanted the real Schehrazade’s mind became hard to bear.

Now that I was in this fiction made real, or perhaps it was real all along, I resolved to make the most of it.

I kept on reading a scroll, etching its contents into my mind along with everything all the other pieces of writing around me had contained. Physics formulas and models of chemical compounds were compartmentalized together, ready to be drawn upon.

And a perfect opportunity to use that knowledge came when I looked through the large opening in the room.

Heavy rain was falling past Bulukiya. Clouds could form anywhere in the enclosed atmosphere of Underworld. Thus it wasn’t uncommon for a cloud closer to the Nucleus than the planet you were on to form and precipitate, the resulting rain, snow, or hail falling down onto or flying past the planetoid housing you. In most cases, unless the cloud manifested close enough to the inner surface, it was rare for the precipitation to reach the inner surface before it evaporated.

As the rainfall moved past Bulukiya, it came just close enough to the planet that, while only a few drops were fully pulled in by its gravity and fell to Bulukiya’s surface, most had their trajectories curved.

I stretched out my arms, pointing the tips of all my fingers towards the rain. Calculations were performed in my mind, a set of completed equations that would explain a set of theoretical events. It only took me less than a nanosecond to create this mass of mathematics, and once it was complete, I sent it out as an order.

My soul released a signal that flew over to the rain. The oxygen and hydrogen that composed the water caught my command, and only they did, as only those two elements could resonate with the frequency of my soul.

The theoretical calculations I created for an event that could happen became real. Two trillion water drops I sent my signal began to follow my directions. They stopped in place, flew right up to the aperture of the room I was in, and then stayed there for a few seconds. Then they began to fly around, lining up to form a spiral shape. After holding position for a bit, they moved again to form a heart, then a star, then they began forming spinning rings that danced around, between, and inside each other, the droplets growing closer or farther than each other to change the size of the rings. Not once did a single drop run into another thanks to the precision of my calculations.

I continued sending signals, creating further commands that the water followed. All the rain gathered into one giant ball of liquid. It shaped into a bird that flew around, flapping its wings before turning into a bow that fired an arrow, then a seed that grew into a rose.

The rose descended to the flower field outside the palace. When it touched down, it froze solid. I sent a signal to the sculpture that altered its chemical composition so its melting point was abnormally high. Now my creation wouldn’t liquify over time like regular ice.

“Excellent display of Alchemy, my lady.” A voice came from behind me.

“Agghh!” My ahoge stood up straight and I spun around to see a ten year old girl in a stereotypical French maid dress, not the fetishized kind thankfully. The girl’s eyes were silver and her white hair was pulled back into a tight bun. Like everyone else in this world, she looked like a 2-D anime character, specifically with an art style that felt straight out of the 90s. “Oy gevalt, Zumurrud, I hate when you do that.”

“What did I do?” Zumurrud spoke softly, but not quietly. Emotionlessly, but not monotonically. Her face lacked expression.

“Nothing, it’s just…” I exhaled with a hand to my chest. When I breathed out, that weird sighing symbol that appears in anime that looks like a circle with a nub coming out of it appeared from my mouth. “You fade into the background so easily. I always forget you’re there, because you always stand in corners or slightly behind me. You never say anything most of the time either, and it’s hard to have a reciprocal conversation with you because of how taciturn you are; I mean you never really put in any work to keep conversations going, and-er-sorry. Started talking without thinking again.”

“It is no issue, my lady.”

“No, it is an issue. I need to watch what I say. I’m sorry.”

“In that case, I accept your apology.” Zumurrud continued to speak without feeling.

I smiled and ran back over to the couch I was sitting on earlier, flipping it over so it was an upside-down V. Gathering together some of the scrolls and books I wanted to reread, I slid under the couch as if it were a tent. The ahoge on my head began to wag like a dog’s tail.

In my first life, it would have been impossible for me to study for so long, even when in a claustrophilic space. My ADHD normally made focusing a Sisyphean task, but my new family’s wealth granted me access to medications and specialized tutors that curbed my ADHD’s effects.

Also, I was more motivated than ever before to improve myself. In my old life, my failure to improve led my family and friends to hate me. My son didn’t care about me at all. I continued to be haunted by those facts. Often I had moments where I had to shut myself in a bathroom and cry over how much misery I must have brought to everyone I met in my old life, to the point that my own parents couldn’t love me.

They could have been so much happier if only I had done better. Now that I had a second chance, I wasn’t going to squander it. I planned to be the best possible version of myself, emotionally and academically. Ninety percent of my every waking moment was dedicated to studying, training, and introspection. It wasn’t fun, and it was still hard to stay on task, but my own joy was a low priority at this point.

My efforts had not been fruitless, as I had high marks in all subjects, including Alchemy, though I wasn’t sure how well I was doing when it came to my relationships with others. I was never good at gauging such things.

After I had continued my studies for a good while, I heard a rapid pitter pattering.

The sound grew louder until the door to the room Zumurrud and I were in snapped open.

“Sissy!” The voice was loud yet flat. It came from a girl who jumped into the air and axe kicked the couch I was under, shattering it before driving her heel into my back.

“Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh!” My ahoge stood on its end again before drooping down lifelessly. I was splayed out on the ground, my spine feeling ready to snap in two. The skin around my eyes turned blue. “Dunyazade, why?”

“Sissy, I saw that sculpture you made. Teach me how to do that.” The girl who assailed me stood with a relaxed posture, as if nothing ridiculous had occurred mere moments ago at her hand, or rather foot.

The girl was my age, and her face was nearly identical to mine, though her expression was completely deadpan. While her hair matched mine in color, it was in a side ponytail, and her eyes were red rather than my cyan. Instead of wearing something like I was, an outfit that looked like it could be casually worn by someone from one of the countries Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah was based on, the girl wore a frilly white lolita dress. It clashed with the Islamic architecture inspired palace even more than Zumurrud’s maid outfit did. Planted atop the girl’s head was an ahoge, though instead of arcing forward like mine, it arced backwards, its tip hidden behind the back of the girl’s head.

Speaking of maids, one ran into the room while Zumurrud helped me to my feet.

The new maid was a twelve year old girl with black hair in a bun. Her teeth grit and her golden eyes were wide. Those eyes widened further when she saw the destroyed couch and the way I was rubbing my back.

“Dunyazade, why did…you do that?” The black haired maid was out of breath. She had an exaggerated anime expression, even having a cute little anime fang that she normally didn’t; such a fang was a true staple of 90s anime. “That couch was expensive.”

“Not for us. We can buy anything we want, or even get it for free.” Dunyazade’s voice continued to be completely flat.

“You need to learn the value of things, and also not to kick people.” The black haired maid pinched the bridge of her nose.

“I’m sorry, Tawaddud.” Zumurrud looked at the floor, pink little blush circles on her cheeks. “I got really excited and wasn’t thinking.”

In the face of Dunyazade’s cure remorse, Tawaddud got anime squinting eyes that looked like a greater than sign and a less than sign together.

“Oh, I can’t stay mad at you.” Tawaddud pulled Zumurrud into a deathgrip of a hug. Dunyazade tried to free herself to avoid suffocating or having her body snap like a twig, but Tawaddud’s love was too strong.

As Tawaddud inadvertently got vengeance on Dunyazade for me, Zumurrud massaged my back whilst I looked at the destroyed couch.

Supernatural concepts existed in this world, such as Alchemy, though Dunyazade utilized none of them to perform her super strength kick. This world, this anime world, was the sort where humans who were ostensibly using nothing to amplify their physical capabilities and should have been on the level of a normal human could still perform feats of superhuman ability.

The laws of physics in this universe were pretty fluid. For example, many important characters in the original anime were able to move faster than light, a scientific impossibility for myriad reasons. If the author wanted the characters in their story to be able to do illogical shit, then they could do it.

Once I felt sufficiently avenged, I walked over to Tawaddud and pried her arms off of Dunyazade who dropped to the floor.

“Aw…” Tawaddud pouted.

“Dunyazade, please don’t interrupt me when I’m studying.” I lightly tapped my little sister’s head with the tip of my foot.

“But you’re always studying.” Dunyazade’s voice remained flat as she looked up at me from the floor. Her ahoge was a tangled mess to match her frazzled state.

“I’m not always studying. We play all the time.”

“Yeah, but I wanna play more.” It was times like this that I was reminded that I was an adult in a child’s body, while Dunyazade was actually a child.

“I know, but I-” In a flash I remembered my old life. Neglecting my family for the sake of what I wanted to do was part of why my relationship with my original siblings and parents was so strained. The only difference was that, instead of choosing to party and indulge in my addictions, now I was obsessing over studying.

My current situation wasn’t as severe as my old life, but I was at risk of repeating my mistakes with a different coat of paint. I didn’t want to replicate the sibling relationship Scheherazade and Dunyazade had in the anime.

In the anime, Dunyazade was the deadpan loli of the protagonist’s harem. While this was never said in the anime, it turned out that the reason Dunyazade was so deadpan was because she was autistic, which made her struggle with expressing her emotions.

She and Scheherazade had an antagonistic relationship, because Scheherazade was the favorite child of their father and was the stronger Alchemist. Dunyazade was resentful of Scheherazade, yet she also secretly admired her and wanted to be closer to her.

To avoid recreating that relationship, I wanted to make sure Dunyazade and I had a strong bond.

“Alright, let’s play. I need a break after studying all day.” I crouched down and pet Dunyazade’s head.

“Yay.” Dunyazade shot upward and wrapped her limbs around me like she was a sloth.

“Do you still want me to show you how to make a sculpture like I just created, or do you wanna do something else?”

“Something else.”

“Do you wanna play video games, barjees, dama, hide-and-seek, ta-”


“Alrighty. Zumurrud, Tawaddud, wanna play too?”

“Of course!” Tawaddud raised her fists slightly as if she were about to break into a cheer.

“If that is what you wish.” Zumurrud bowed.

“Radical. Who wants to be-” I was interrupted again, this time by a text message that appeared in my mind.

Alchemy had allowed science to advance to heights far beyond what existed in my old reality. One such advancement was the creation of brain implants that functioned like cell phones and computers with internet access. You only had to think to interface with the device.

The text itself had come from my new father, and it said,

“Come to the combat courtyard. Be presentable. This is a surprise test.”

I could tell that Dunyazade also got the message based on how she got off of me and began to squirm where she stood. Her normally blank face was replaced with wide eyes and a furrowed brow, her teeth clattering against each other as her breathing became hurried.

“It’ll be okay.” I put a hand atop my sister’s head and pet her. “You’ve worked hard. You’ve got this.”

While she didn’t say anything, Dunyazade’s breathing slowed as she put her hands atop mine.

“You promise it’ll be okay?”

“I promise.” I grinned. “Now let’s go.”

Dunyazade and I left, our maids at our backs.

The courtyard we had been summoned to was sixty meters by sixty meters. It had a floor of polished crystal that reflected the image of all that was before it, including the inner surface of Underworld and the Nucleus.

It also reflected the image of the man who sat up straight on an ornate throne of frozen liquid positioned at the courtyard’s center. This was the man Dunyazade and I had to call father. He was Shahryar, Sultan of Alf-Laylah wa-Laylah. His hair, including his thick beard, were magenta, and his eyes were red. Hydrogen fire cloaked his body, taking the shape of a bisht cloak, under which was a thawb robe made of amorphous liquid nitrogen that constantly released vapor. On his head he had more liquid nitrogen in the form of a shemagh headdress held in place by an agal cord of flame. The square shape of his head, the hard creases on his face, and his muscular bulk made him look solid and heavy. Paired with his constant scowl and his attire, it created an intensity to all aspects of him, even how he breathed.

Dunyazade and I kneeled while Zumurrud and Tawaddud went as far as to fully prostrate themselves, their foreheads pressed to the ground.

“Greetings, father,” Dunyazade and I spoke in unison. “Greetings, esteemed guests.”

Numerous people stood in the cloisters that formed a perimeter around the courtyard, all of them watching intently. Most were nobles curious to see the development of the scions of the Sultan.

“Scheherazade, get in position.” Shahryar didn’t bother with pleasantries as his throne dematerialized and he walked over to his starting position.

While I went to the spot opposite Shahryar’s, my sister, Zumurrud, and Tawaddud went into the shade of one of the cloisters. I spread my feet apart and prepared myself.

Without a word, Shahryar pointed a finger towards me. The air in front of the digit became a gust as it was displaced. While I couldn’t see it, I understood that newly created hydrogen was gathering. With a flex of Shahryar’s will, the hydrogen underwent nuclear fusion, turning into radioactive fire. An inferno filled the courtyard from the left edge to the right edge before shooting towards me as a huge jet.

There was nowhere to escape within the courtyard, and I wasn’t allowed to leave the quadrangle.

I had to block.

My hands clapped together as my soul emitted a signal, a message to the soul of all things known as the Anima Mundi. What I requested was for the creation of the two elements that resonated with my soul’s frequency. Oxygen and hydrogen manifested from nothing before combining into H2O.

A sphere of water formed around me. Normal water would have evaporated immediately before Shahryar’s flames, even as held back as they were, but I performed calculations that altered the chemical properties of the liquid to have a far higher boiling point. I also made it so the water would be able to repel the radiation and erase it.

Despite my efforts, the liquid barrier began boiling due to the intensity of Shahryar’s continuing blaze. Normally I’d try to suck the oxygen out of the fire, but flames born of nuclear fusion don’t need oxygen. I could have tried to take out the hydrogen, but that would require overpowering Shahryar’s command over the hydrogen generating the conflagration, and that was impossible for me as I was.

I had to clear away the inferno, so I raised my hands before swinging them down. More water formed before me and became a wave that reached up high before cresting downward to flood the whole courtyard. A gelatinous cube of water consumed the area and put out the conflagration.

Shahryar was untouched by my deluge as he had formed a pillar shaped shield of nitrogen around himself that, despite being in a gaseous form, kept out the liquid like a solid.

The water cube began to shrink as my hands squeezed each other, the liquid condensing around my father to try to penetrate his barrier. What was once a giant block had become a thin and dense membrane around my father’s defense that was a step away from caving in.

Without a single gesture, Shahryar caused his nitrogen shield to turn to liquid. It was so cold that it froze my water. Normally that’d be no issue as I could control ice, but Shahryar froze my water to absolute zero. When anything freezes to absolute zero, it loses all energy and falls apart into its component atoms.

That was what happened to my water which dispersed before my very eyes. I could still control the individual atoms, but at the time I lacked experience in using them for anything when not gathered into a greater mass.

Before I could coagulate the hydrogen and oxygen that had just disincorporated, Shahryar’s liquid nitrogen lunged towards me. My arms whipped around as I gathered oxygen and hydrogen around me. The gasses lifted me up, allowing me to fly out of the way of the nitrogen.

The nitrogen did a u-turn and flew towards me again, growing in size until it was a vortex that was too large to dodge. I created a new water barrier around me and made it have as low a freezing point as possible.

But then, from the side opposite of the nitrogen vortex, another jet of nuclear fire shot towards me. As I continued to lower my barrier’s freezing point, I also raised its boiling point as it was hit by the pincer attack. One side of my shield filled with ice crystals while the other bubbled. I couldn’t keep this up for long.

Shahryar ripped out the hydrogen from my water, reducing it to just oxygen that burned and froze away.

I panicked as I was mere seconds away from either getting immolated or frozen to the core. Without a plan, I just created as much oxygen as I possibly could, which formed a tornado that stretched upward so far that it was triple the length of Bulukiya’s diameter. The gas spun as fast as I could make it, blowing away the flames and nitrogen before it could ignite or disincorporate, as well as creating a shockwave that shook Bulukiya and made most of the spectators fall to their feet.

Shahryar’s simultaneous attacks disappeared, as did my tornado, and I lowered myself to the ground. I dropped to my hands and knees, my breathing labored, even though I was only mentally exhausted.

“A good Alchemist doesn’t use techniques that exhaust them so completely.” Shahryar stood unmoved by the tornado. “If I was trying to kill you, you’d be helpless to stop me now.”

“But I would have been hit by your attacks if I didn’t do that.” I looked up at Shahryar as he walked over to me.

“And that is why you shouldn’t have let yourself be trapped in the first place. You panicked and acted without thinking about the full implications of your choice. Always be restrained, analytical, and prepared.”

“Yes, father.” I got to my feet, though I was lightheaded and nearly fell back over.

“Be better.”

“Yes, father.”

“You may go. Dunyazade, come.”

I walked towards one of the cloisters, the audience clapping in appreciation of my performance.

Meanwhile, Dunyazade walked past me as she headed for her starting position.

“You’ve got this,” I said as we passed each other.

Dunyazade’s shoulders raised up and her hands balled into fists.

I entered a cloister and turned to face the courtyard. Zumurrud began dabbing my skin with a hot towel.

“Thanks, Zumurrud.”

“It’s my pleasure, my lady. You performed excellently.”

“Thank you, but Father didn’t think so.” I put a hand on my hip.

“He simply wants you and your sister to achieve your full potential.”

Tawaddud watched Dunyazade get in position to spar, the maid leaning forward with her hands clasped. She was sweating like she was in the desert on the hottest day of the year.

Once again there was no call to start the match. Instead, Shahryar just raised his finger.

Rather than wait to see what attack was coming, Dunyazade created a wall of liquid nitrogen in front of herself to defend. Instead of a spherical barrier that would protect her from all sides like what I used, she focused on a single sided barrier. That meant she didn’t have to spend extra mental energy on protecting herself from all angles. Instead she could put all her energy into making her wall as durable as possible.

This was a poor decision.

A wave of liquid nitrogen came at Dunyazade from behind. Dunyazade had assumed that Shahryar would attack from the front like he had done with me, which was reinforced by him raising a finger like he did when he shot a jet of nuclear fire at me from the front. It was a deception to leave Dunyazade unprepared for when Shahryar spawned a mass of nitrogen right behind her.

The cold liquid moved around Dunyazade, freezing the air into a solid block. Dunyazade was trapped.

It took less than a second for Dunyazade to break out of her cold prison by shooting several pressurized jets of liquid nitrogen to cut the miniature glacier into ice cubes.

In the time a shivering Dunyazade took to escape her prison, Shahryar closed the distance between himself and his daughter by propelling himself with a burst of gaseous hydrogen. He grabbed Dunyazade by the face, and from the palm of the hand he used to do so came a torrent of flame.

Dunyazade’s body was engulfed. Her legs flailed and she grabbed Shahryar’s hand in a fruitless attempt to remove it. She couldn’t scream, as the fire burned the oxygen necessary for speech.

The Sultan wasn’t stopping. He’d kill Dunyazade at this rate.

I began running before I could even fully process what was happening. Tawaddud was right at my side, and Zumurrud was behind me.

“Let go of her, you fuck!” I spoke from the gut.

The fire died out. Shahryar had a burning look in his eye. He threw Dunyazade right at me.

I caught her, but the force of Shahryar’s toss caused Dunyazade’s body to hit me hard enough to knock me off my feet.

My sister and I flew through the air like a bullet, smashing into a pillar of one of the cloisters. Vibrations traveled through me before being replaced by a full body ache.

Dunyazade and I hit the floor.

I looked at my sister. Her skin was melting, her clothes were blackened tatters, and the air smelled like a burning corpse.

“Dunyazade, open your mouth!” Tawaddud pulled out a green and white pill, dropping it from taking it out so frantically. She snatched it back up and put it to Dunyazade’s lips. As Dunyazade opened her mouth and ate the capsule, Zumurrud gave me one as well.

The medicine immediately began stimulating the natural regenerative abilities of our bodies. This was another wonder of Underworld’s scientific breakthroughs. My pain faded. Liquified flesh sloughed off my sister’s body as it was replaced with pristine brown skin.

It took only a few seconds for Dunyazade and I to be back to perfect physical health, though the way my sister’s breaths were shaky and her eyes bulged made it clear she was still reeling from what Shahryar did to her.

“Why did you-” I had begun to yell at Shahryar, but stopped when I saw him turn his back on us. He was walking away. Fire crawled up my throat. “Where are you going?”

“The fight is over, unless you think she’s ready to keep going?” Shahryar kept on walking.

“Why’d you burn her? You didn’t need to!”

“In the real world, enemies won’t pull their punches. If that doesn’t satisfy you, consider the pain she just experienced as her punishment for performing so pathetically.”

“You fu-”

“I suggest you hold your tongue, or you’ll regret it.” Shahryar stopped and turned his head just enough to look back at me with a single burning eye. “Your status as my favored daughter only wins you so much leeway. Before I am your father, I am your Sultan. If I wished for it, I could teach you what real suffering is, not the meager sting your sister is whining about, and I’d keep teaching it to you until you never misused that mouth of yours again. Your personal servants wouldn’t be spared either.”

Despite wanting to be defiant, I held my tongue.

Shahryar left the courtyard, as did the various spectators. I could hear them whisper of how impressed they were with me, and how unimpressed they were with Dunyazade.

Tawaddud ground her teeth and put arms around Dunyazade as the latter girl cried soundlessly.

“Do you feel any more pain, my lady?” Tawaddud said.

“No.” Dunyazade nuzzled into the crook of her maid’s neck.

I wanted to punch Shahryar so bad. My whole body was a tensing spring, but I couldn’t release my fury without facing consequences, and Dunyazade, Zumurrud, and Tawaddud would face them too. It was that latter fact that really held me back from taking action.

My attention shifted to figuring out methods I could use to cheer Dunyazade up, but I came up with nothing. Playing with her would do nothing to console her as she currently was. Food would be equally ineffectual, as would anything else.

The trauma of your own father hurting you was something there was no salve for.

I felt impotent. My new sister was in so much pain and all I could do was watch. It was all thanks to that despicable piece of walking talking shit.

Shahryar was a major antagonist in the original anime, a one-dimensional evil tyrant who abused his family and especially the people he ruled over. Scheherazade’s character arc was heavily focused on how desperate she was for her father’s validation, as well as on how she needed to accept Shahryar’s true nature and help the main protagonist dethrone him.

As for me, I had no reservations about making sure Shahryar died like a fucking dog.

In fiction, generically evil villains are usually either fun due to their bombast, or boring in their blandness. Seeing such a monster in real life was horrific.

Shahryar nearly killed his own daughter, and made her experience having her flesh melt away, all because she wasn’t meeting his expectations. Imagine how he acted towards people he didn’t know.

Either Shahryar had to die, or be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

I’d make sure one of those two outcomes came to be.

That was my first mission in my new life.

And I already had a plan.