Tristan headed for his throne room as he did every morning for the past month. He had about 15 minutes before the guards let worshippers in to see him and he liked to sit quietly with himself for a bit. Despite his fame, Tristan was aware enough to keep himself grounded. He knew if he let his stardom go to his head, he’d make a mistake that would cost him everything. He spent a few minutes alone in the golden chair every morning to remind himself where he came from and how he got there.
“Good morning, Mr. Davinport,” Tristan jumped. The stranger spoke as soon as he entered the room, he spun his head towards the voice and saw two women. One in a white suit and one in all black; both pale with dark hair. The woman in white was taller and leaner, and she spoke with the same voice that startled him. “Sorry for the surprise, but I’ll only need a moment of your time. My name is Dana Sharp,” the woman said.
Tristan kept his eyes on both women as he listened to Ms. Sharp’s introduction and finished the trek to his throne. He sat on it and nodded politely at the women.
“I appreciate your determination in getting past my guards this early. What have you come to ask a god for, Ms. Sharp?” A brief, sudden giggle escaped from the woman next to her, but she managed to swallow it before it became insulting.
“Nothing,” Ms. Sharp replied with a firm, cold smile. “I’ve come to offer you my services; one god to another,” she said.
“You?” Tristan asked in surprise. “You’re a god? Prove it,” he said.
“Melody,” Ms. Sharp commanded her assistant. The shorter woman in black stepped forward.
“Your favorite number is four,” Melody said. Tristan burst into laughter, then held up his left hand; a golden tophat with the number 4 was tattooed on the back.
“Everyone knows that,” he said. Melody nodded, then continued.
“Your real name is Tristan Davinport the 4th. You were born April 4th, 2004 in Toledo to Tristan and Meredith Davinport. You have three older brothers -“
“Alright,” Tristan interrupted her. “I’ve heard enough. So, what are you offering then?” he asked.
“I’m offering you the chance to join me,” Ms. Sharp replied. “This is just one Earth in a multiverse of alternate realities. If you ally yourself with Sharp Development you’ll gain access to all my resources and show your worshippers miracles they’ve never imagined.” She was good, but Tristan could spot a con a mile away. The thing that puzzled him, though, was that she was telling the truth; but, she was still hiding something.
“What’s in it for you?’ Tristan asked.
“You’re a smart man,” Ms. Sharp replied. “I don’t need to give you the company line about bettering humanity; instead I’ll tell you the truth. Advertising, plain and simple. Your worshippers buying and using my products, spreading the word about both of us throughout the multiverse.” Tristan nodded as he listened. Again, she seemed to be telling the truth; but, he still thought something felt off.
“And… what happens if I say, ‘no thanks’? What if I want to try and go it alone?” he asked.
“Oh, that’s not an option that’s available to you anymore,” Ms. Sharp replied.
“Huh?” Tristan asked. He was genuinely confused. It sounded like it could be a threat but even if she was a god, like him, they were on his turf.
“Before you ascended, this Earth belonged to its people as a whole. They could elect leaders, and those leaders are considered the Earths’ representatives. Normally, I need to convince the governing body of an Earth to sell me their planet.” Tristan felt a knot growing in his stomach the more she explained.
“In your case, however,” Ms. Sharp smiled. “One god may take an Earth from another god by force.” Tristan shrank slightly into his throne.
“What kind of force?” he asked.
“That’s up to you,” Ms. Sharp replied. “Enough force to twist your arm,” Ms. Sharp nodded at Melody; her assistant offered Tristan a red clipboard loaded with a form and pen. “Or enough force to kill you. Either way, this Earth is mine now.”