Amelia’s glare nearly pierced my insides. I chuckled, arms folded, standing in defiance.
“Look, just because I’m on the run from the hunters doesn’t mean I’m going to be sheltered like some child. You should know me better than that.”
“Oh, I’m not angry about that,” she said. “The alcohol on you is so strong that my nose burns in disgust. The idea of training you is in hopes that you’ll grow up, mature, and develop a sense of honor that could put you in Conus’s favor. Not to drink yourself to a stupor, party with witches, and expect to return to my presence untainted.”
“I went to a bar, sat down, and Sin and his pet witch joined me. We had an interesting conversation.”
“You only scoped one, Epex, without realizing that the entire bar was full of witches —every customer there. With you drunk like this, that demi-devil could’ve killed you.”
“Oh, no, he won’t kill me,” I said, with a laugh. “He reminds me too much of you. That all-for-good manner. His father kicked him out sometime ago and he’s afraid of getting slaughtered by the Fallen.”
Amelia shook her head. I could see the corners of her mouth twitching a little as she tried to hide her amusement. “I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been a Fallen sighting in centuries,” she said.
I shrugged, feeling like there was something Sin didn’t tell us. His city. His birth. Oh well, the demi-devil’s bullshit wasn’t my problem.
“Let’s go home. You’re going to sleep off that alcohol.”
Something shuffled into my bed. My eyes shot open as I awoke from a dreamless slumber. Amelia was in my bed again, her green eyes peering at me. I caught a brief glance of the clock before she rolled over. Five in the morning. Why am I not surprised?
“What?” I said. “Can’t you stay in your own room for once?”
“You say that but when I peek into your heart, you don’t seem to mind,” Amelia said.
“No. Every time you shuffle into my bed, I immediately think they’ve finally found me.”
Amelia sighed. “I would’ve felt their presence in the city if that were the case. Now stop being paranoid.”
I chuckled. “Easier said than done. What do you want early this morning, horn-dog?”
“You should learn to be romantic,” she softly. “I have needs too.”
I opened my mouthed to speak, but closed it. She caressed my chest and then my arms, as if feeling for each vein in my muscles. I needed a distraction, before her seducing led me into fatherhood early.
“Amelia, what do you do during the day?” I asked. “Do you set about with goddess work, like watching over the people of this city?”
“Yes, but I also attend the local university.”
I blinked twice. “You’re an immortal goddess. You can pretty much have your way with anything. Your capacity far exceeds that of a human, so what’s the point of a degree?”
“It’s not about what I am,” she said, rolling on top of me. “It’s about what I accomplish. Sure, time is limitless, but I still want to see what they see, to live among them. To see what makes us different and what makes us similar. How can I protect humanity if I know little about them?”
“If I had unlimited —”
“But you do,” Amelia said.
“My aging has stopped mid-twenties but I’m not truly immortal,” I told her. “I can be killed without…” I paused, remembering something very important. I gently moved Amelia off me and sat up. “I think I know how to strip away a god’s immortality. This should at least stop the hunters from pursuing me for a time.” Amelia frowned, probably disappointed that she failed to seduce me again. Or that I suggested a forbidden spell. “Let me see your arrows.”
“Oh no, you’re not putting that on my arrows,” she said, sitting up.
“It’s okay. I developed it myself. It’s not a form of demonism or some bullshit like that.”
She placed a hand on my shoulder. “I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. Epex, how in the world did you make something like that? You do know that you’re basically a genius, right? Almost an evil genius.”
I laughed. “Sorry, but this is one secret I cannot tell you. Can’t have it overheard, getting out, and erased by some record god. But I’ll tell you this, each day spent in Hell was full of purpose ever since my power began to leak from the seal. The deity-trapper is based on an Asian tag of protection called Ofuda and a French talisman called Angelus Praesidium, a few other things and nearly six or seven years of charging. I did create it with an intention of it dying with me but who knew that that much power would force us to ascend?” I shrugged.
Amelia eyes were wide. “And another thing—how are you manifesting objects so quickly, despite the seal. A seal that was created by Conus himself. Epex, you’re a prodigy even for Paradise Realm and you don’t even care, do you?”
“Nope, not even a bit.” I manifested a nice, shiny sword with a dark blue hilt, covered in gold mini-sword decorations, and infused it with some power. Then I manifested a permanent marker, drew three mini deity-trappers on both sides of the double-edged blade and one on the hilt. Seven total. I conjured up a sheathe, also infused with power, and drew a trapper on it too. “These are going to take some time to charge. Are you sure you don’t want your arrows to be given an edge? What about that sword?”
“No.” Amelia squeezed my arm. “I can manage.”
“It didn’t look that way when we fought Yulese,” I said.
“I fought him without much bloodlust. That allowed him to easily time-freeze the power on my weapons. I won’t make that mistake again.”
“Alright, it’s your loss,” I said as I sheathed the sword. Amelia pushed it off to the side and kissed me. She straddled me again, her breathing different, desiring. She kissed me repeatedly. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t enjoy it and I kissed her back. I restrained myself from hopping headfirst into fatherhood. The naïve Paradise Realm ways of family starting will not begin with a mistake. You know, starting it with barely any life experience. I have to say, it’s a good thing Conus made me attend all of that schooling or I’d probably let the human side of me dive right in and scream when it’s too late.
“My friends in Paradise Realm insisted that I move on, that there was no hope with you, but I didn’t listen.” Amelia placed her hand on my face, like some mother adoring her child. “My faith in our destiny has brought me into your arms. And soon a beautiful child.”
“I wouldn’t say soon,” I said. “Fuck, Amelia, you’ve got to learn to control yourself. What is it, goddess mating season?” I chuckled.
She sighed. “Heat. Epex, what’s time to us? It’s not control that I lack. I just want to be with you.” I felt myself blush. She kissed me again. “You said wanted me to help you forget about the last eight years. Instead of that, I want to help you form new, better memories. But you must learn to let go, to move forward. If you can’t, you’ll never get stronger. What is it that YOU want to do?”
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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 (It's a joke. These are among my favorite authors) , 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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