The three new members looming in front of me, looking remarkably unimpressed, also looked remarkably human.
"Actually..." I started, "Are you guys here to join hell's military council?"
They nodded, and the girl spoke with a bored voice.
"I was hoping it would be...a bit more impressive."
I tried to soothe my stinging pride.
"I could say the same for you three." I replied, rolling my eyes, "I was expecting some kind of...I don't know, pizzaz."
"Times have been tough." the girl replied, "We don't exactly have a following anymore. Our roles are purely ceremonial these days."
"Would you believe, a couple of seconds ago I thought you were just stories part of some crazy ancient cults!"
The three glared at me and I shrunk a little.
"Sorry. Um, take a seat. There'll be snacks soon."
They moved to sit and I finally got to my feet, brushing off my dress and clearing my throat awkwardly. So, this was hard. Like, harder than presenting a project to a class of jocks hard.
Manni was doing her nails, clearly uninterested in the new members of the council.
"How about we have an icebreaker?" I suggested, wondering how teachers handled such bored audiences, "Everybody introduce yourself and tell us something-a hobby, a trip you took last summer, anything!"
The table stared at me as if it was in disbelief.
"Why don't I start? My name's Zara, and I'm hell's High Commander."
I looked expectantly at Manni and she thankfully obliged me.
"I'm Manni, and I had my tail removed last week."
I looked at Eversio and he sighed before speaking.
"I am Eversio."
PRINCE EVERSIO, SON TO HIS MAJESTY KING LUCIFER! 66TH HEIR TO THE THRONE! KNEEL BEFORE YOUR SUPERIOR OR FEEL THE WRATH OF HELL!
"Um, Bob, let's be friendly." I reminded, glancing at the girl beside Eversio.
Her grey eyes flickered with annoyance, and she moved her head, her glistening black ponytail moving with it.
"I'm Athena, and my dad gave birth to me. I had to be pulled out of his skull."
Ookay, totally not graphic.
The guy beside her grinned and slapped the table.
"Dionysus is my name, and booze is my game! Absinthe, brandy, you want it I got it for discount prices-"
DUDE, Bob interrupted, STOP SPAMMING. THIS IS AN AD-FREE SITE.
"You were spamming a couple pages ago..." I muttered, getting myself stared at again.
"What?" I asked incredulously, "If everyone else is breaking the fourth wall why can't I?"
Eversio pointed to the wall behind him, the cracking slabs of stone.
"We haven't got unlimited funding, you know. I had this fixed a year ago."
I was tempted to bash my head in the wall but sighed instead.
"Let's just finish the icebreaker."
All eyes in the room went to the last member, and he ground his cigarette into the table.
"I have many names. I don't particularly like any of them."
"Trying to be a hotshot, lover boy?" Dionysus asked, laughing.
A few seconds later his laughs turned to screams as the cigarette was pushed into the skin on his neck. Athena stood up and moved like an acrobat, grabbing the aggressor's arm and twisting it behind his back.
"Stop it!" she hissed, "You're both thousands of years old, so don't act like children!"
Dionysus had morphed into a woman and was holding her cheek and groaning.
Eversio had stood up and was yelling something about improper conduct.
Manni was doing her nails.
I stood there, staring, and wondered how the hell I was going to make this work.