I woke up to Amelia’s worried face, wounds gone, and in my room, at Amanda’s house. Ah.
“Do you know how much of a pain in the bum it is to get you out of there while altering the memories of so many humans at once?”
I stopped paying attention to her lecture, writhing in anger. I got my ass kicked. He mentioned an offer but I knew where that would head. The gutters. Shit Creek. I took a deep breath and let out a sigh as rationality returned. I had no time to worry about Sin, not when hunters could slaughter me at any second. My luck would not extend past the Yulese fight.
I interrupted Amelia. “I know how we can fend off the hunters.”
“So, you were attacked by some kind of hunter?” she asked.
“No,” I said, sat up, and then explained what happened to me.
“Is it a coincidence that Ghost’s son is here of all places?” Amelia said.
I glanced at the clock. Four. “Amelia, I need you to train me. Teach me some of that hunter combat or something.”
She nodded. “That goes without saying but I won’t do it for free.”
“You caused me and the girls quite the bit of trouble today, so free training is out of the question, even if you are hunted. I need something in return. Otherwise, you’re going to have to rely on me to protect you.”
I saw that goddess gleam in her eyes and gulped. A deal with a goddess meant a promise that is literally impossible to break, as nature itself binds the agreement. Being part human subjected me the option to engage in these pacts.
“Can’t I make it up to you some other way,” I asked.
“No,” Amelia said. “Either you make the promise to me or I won’t train you. That’s the deal.”
I sighed. Well, she’s my friend. My only friend. I shouldn’t have to worry, right? “Fine then, what you do want?”
She smiled. “One day you and I must mate and have a child.”
I laughed. “Is that it?” I almost held out my hand to easily agree only to think of the “catch.”
“That’s my deal,” she said, folding her arms across her chest.
“I don’t mind but a deal like that when I could die anytime is kind of a waste,” I protested.
“Then you have nothing to lose,” Amelia said.
“That’s not the point,” I said.
“It doesn’t matter, that’s my deal. Take it or leave it.” She rose to leave.
“Wait,” I said, already feeling a fuck ton of regret at this decision. “You drive a hard bargain but I need the training. Don’t expect to be popping into motherhood anytime soon.”
Amelia smiled. “That’s fine. I will have something to look forward to.” She held her delicate hand out. I hesitated. If I grabbed that hand, the child was going to exist, regardless of the catch to the agreement. Amelia would be the mother of my child in the future. And to be fair, she’d probably make a great mother. Then...we’ve got the possibility of me being plain dead. Amelia looked as if she would start crying at any moment—I still didn’t accept the hand, the contract initiation. In fact, I started to waver.
“I don’t know,” I said. “What if I do somehow imprint, but to someone else.”
Amelia looked torn. “I can feel our bond, Epex, but your lack of faith in it is holding you back.”
I thought about Amelia, from the day that we were introduced to now. That clingy little girl had become this full grown goddess and despite our eight-year separation, she still hoped for something between us. She had given up everything for me. She really did love me… I looked into her eyes and saw confirmation of that.
Still, something in me hesitated. Amelia spent those years with a romantic reunion in mind. I spent them with absolute bitterness, literally burning in Hell. Could you blame me for not wanting to move so fast? I needed to resolve this. “Amelia.”
She jumped slightly as is if surprised that I even bothered to return from my silence.
“Yes?” she said softly.
“I’m going to accept the deal, but on the condition that feelings of love must flow from me naturally. I spent eight years in fucking Hell. My mind still needs time to recuperate.” I grabbed her hand and pulled her close. “It needs you. Don’t give up on me. Pull me from the chains of Hell that still grasped me.” Her perfume was alluring, so much so that I almost thought her seduction-effect activated. But power didn’t flow behind that. Amelia just held herself to high standards, like a princess. The princess of the Venus Clan. They were known for having the most goody-two-shoed people in it. Other clans sometimes regarded them as weak. I bet they felt like morons when the Venus Clan’s princess was announced to be married to the next ruler of the universe. Even when that got torn away, she became one of the six super hunters.
Amelia suddenly kissed me. I nearly flinched, surprised. She pulled back, smiling.
“That kiss was both love and of the contract,” she said softly.
At that moment, I felt her goddess power flow into me, but nothing binding. There was no contract. The childhood partner that she knew always kept his word.
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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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