Something within me clicked. I don’t if Amelia’s tears or Jade’s dying body caused it. Two things that I shouldn’t care about, yet this was something that I refused to shake off. I could feel the wrath inside finally stir out of control, the warmth of heavenly light surrounding me. I stood up, charged an enormous amount of force into my palms but didn’t use it, instead walking over to Jade, ignoring Yulese.
I just didn’t understand myself. I thought I hated humans, that I’d rather watch them burn. So why didn’t I ignore this causality, shrug it off like a bad hangover, and fend for my life without caring about anyone else?
I glanced into Jade’s dimming eyes. Then…. Somehow, I peered into her past, catching only a glimpse but seeing everything I needed to know. She walked from her high school, a kind but naïve first-year, cheery, ready to get back to her family. As she approached her home, a man with two guns broke in.
He shot and killed them all: parents, uncle and aunt, cousins, siblings, and grandmother, robbing the family afterwards. He ran right past the poor girl, huge grin on his face, carrying a bag of cash and items, and sped off. She was hit with a sense of trauma that was powerful enough to make her suicidal. Afterwards, she often cursed gods, angels, and anything holy. Calling it all fake. That they let her family die. She stopped going to school, socializing, and sat around each day in pure gloom.
Then one day she finally snapped. Midnight, Jade found a bridge, ready to jump and end it all. That’s when Amelia appeared in full glory, wings glistening, heavenly-light illuminating the dark area. She took some of Jade’s pain and turned it into power. They had a long talk. And that led to today.
I actually felt a tear dropped from—just kidding, I didn’t. Humans were still a shaky topic for me. I don’t know if I would ever trust them.
“Jade,” I said. “Today isn’t your day, it’s not your time. So, wake up.” I effortlessly pushed that blurry figure back into her body, my own heavenly-light engulfing her. What I somehow pulled off wasn’t resurrection. That’s impossible for me. Stopping death is the most difficult ability among all power-users. How I made this happen is beyond me.
That stunt drained my tank. Still, the color returned to Jade, and she seemed to heal instantly. Amelia could fine-tune things later. I turned to Yulese. He was smiling.
“This act would’ve normally moved me to vouch for you,” he said. “There really is good somewhere in that bitter head of yours. Still, a hunt is a hunt and you killed my servants. A twenty-eight century Hell sentence should be good enough, though. Consider that mercy.”
The force I charged was still in my hand. I made eye contact with Amelia. We had one chance at this.
I rushed forward and attacked Yulese. I had no real training but I had lived among demons, fighting for my sanity for years. That was better than nothing.
Yulese blocked my punches with a single finger and then kicked me to the ground. Before he could pursue me, Amelia unleashed a flurry of arrows. The shots were true to their aim but Yulese was prepared. He made a billboard appear in his grasps, blocking the arrows. He exhaled in relief.
“I’m no fool to how deadly your arrows are, Lady Amelia, but as long as I’m not caught in the volley, I’ll be fine.”
I knocked him off his feet with a leg sweep. I pushed my excitement of that actually working to the side and dove on top, whaling on his face. He knocked me off after four punches. Amelia was right behind him. Before he could react, she rammed a huge sword that she manifested through his chest. Yulese laughed.
“Lady Amelia, you may have the best tracking, and the best aim, even the most grace when firing that bow but you lack raw power in anything else. But to be fair, I can stop time inside my body, preventing injury, rendering someone as powerful as you useless.” He backhanded her so hard that she spiraled twenty feet before landing. “I’ll deal with you later, so I suggest you stay there. My son may want a child as soon as possible. Conus and your father should have no problem allowing this arranged wedding to happen.”
Yulese turned to me. Sadly, I still lay on the ground. He walked over to me, turning my head so that I could see his smile “At least you tried, Epex, but it’s time for disobedient rebels to sink back into Hell. Or in your case, the depths.”
I simply laughed at his arrogant declaration. Yulese looked at me, confused.
“I don’t think so, Yulese,” I said as I placed my hand on the circle that we both had contact with. Remember when I said I generated a lot of force. Well, that was no joke. I converted the force into power .then tunneled it through the deity-trapper. The circle shined a bright neon blue. I quickly rolled out of it. Yulese struggled, eyes widened. The circle held him.
“What’s going on?” he snarled. “Why can’t I move? Why I can’t use power? What did you do to me?” He struggled frantically, flailing his arms and straining against the circle. The trapper didn’t budge, not even a bit.
I shrugged. “Oh, nothing too spectacular. Just scrapped off your immortality and trapped you. I’d need far more power to do this to Conus, but to a hunter like you, this deity-trapper was a piece of cake.”
It wasn’t, but his desperate expression revealed that he didn’t catch on to the bluff. Had I not somehow charged that crazy amount of force or if I had wasted it with some big bash, we’d all be dead. Also…if Yulese were smart enough, he’d break out of such a low-powered circle. This couldn’t be compared to the one I spent years charging.
I picked up Jade’s gun from the sidewalk.
Yulese’s eyes widened. “Epex you don’t want to do this. YOU CANNOT DO THIS.” I cocked the pistol.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can,” I said, aiming for the forehead. “See ya.” I squeezed the trigger.
The god burst into flames as he squealed his last breath. “I hope the universe reincarnates you into a human, so you can see what it’s like to be powerless.” I turned to the restaurant door. “Stop crying. Come out and help them.”
They tended the wounds, showing that they had hunted with Amelia for years, applying bandages and healing ointments and what not. I was sort of impressed.
The time freeze slowly wore off.
“Take Jade to the car. Amelia will be fine,” I said.
They nodded. The last thing we needed was to be near the destruction: arrows, broken restaurant door, shattered windows, giant fucking billboard in the middle of the parking lot.
We got the hell out of there.
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Alvin Atwater is a man of humor, a starving author. With a unique writing style that can outshine even Jim Butcher, Patria Briggs, or Kevin Hearne, he is a character-driven lovable lump of mass. Born in Florida, he's on a mission to defeat his arch nemesis, Florida Man, once and for all.
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Author of the Blood for Soul series and a secret coming-of-the-age epic fantasy. Lover of anime and manga: so yeah, weeb shit? Fun. Sue me haha.
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