I half-smiled, maybe a little sad smile, as Amelia burst into the room. Her icy glare scanned the room before resting on me.
“Let me explain,” I said quickly. “I’ve been hired—”
She cut me off with the raise of a hand. “So, your idea of a job is to get yourself involved in the shenanigans of a demi-devil, succubus, witch, and a sorcerer. Are you crazy? Are you not trying to redeem yourself here?”
I shook my head. “Let me give you another reminder that I’m wanted for treason against Paradise Realm.”
Davante’s eyes widened.
“Does that mean God wants to kill you?”
I ignored him, focused on Amelia. Her glare didn’t waver.
“Let me explain, great goddess,” Amony said, bowing her head before making eye contact with Amelia. “I’m the owner of this private law enforcement establishment funded by both my family and the government. Our goal is simple. Keep the supernatural threats off the streets. Easy day, right? However, there is a demonic organization called Sunset that meets every so often. The more they meet, the more demonic energy is left behind. That massive amount of left-behind demonic energy will eventually attract the Fallen. For Sin here, who’s trying to live a peaceful life, that’s bad. For Epex, even for you, that’s bad. Fallen will kill any otherworldly being, regardless of status. Their presence will be trouble for this city. Great goddess, may you join us? At least accompany us on our demon hunt tonight.”
Amelia’s eyes widened, probably unsure if to be angry or surprised at the witch’s “insolence.”
After a few moments, she sighed. “I will go with you on this demon hunt and pass my judgment. If it endangers the city, Epex, or myself, I will shut this entire force down immediately. Even if I have to drop it into the sun.”
Amony smiled. “Pleased to have you with us.”
Amelia simply returned a glare, letting the witch know to not get comfortable. She folded her arms. “I will return with my friends.”
When Amelia left, Amony let out a sigh of relief to our surprise.
“How do you put up with that?” Amony asked. She continued in an uncharacteristic rant before I could answer. “Witches live for the great goddesses, not demon masters. Sure, some of us don’t follow the path of the true witch, often looking up to some truly bad demons for power. But we stand for love, and respect, and we live for nature, in its purest form. We give our thanks to the goddesses as they show us that a female can stand stronger than a male, and not always succumb to dominance. The goddesses care for nature. We revive it. We nourish it. Witches, no matter what path, default to that core value.”
She was tearing up now. “There is no witch that would enjoy a shunning from a goddess.” She inhaled and sighed, wiping her face. “I’m sorry.” Amony took a deep breath. “Please do not speak of this.” She stood up and stared out the window. “It’s a controversy in the Paradise Realm, I bet—that assumption that witches are servants of demons. But we’re not. We’re servants of nature. Witchcraft was always divided because there are some witches out there who really do worship demons and devils. There are even some who are neutral. Others are walkers of the pure, and will do anything to protect nature. Even if it causes another witch hunt.”
That made me think a bit. Amony looked twenty-four but the chances of a spoiled, rich daughter of Sir Billionaire hiring us was out of the question. I thought about the misthanger queen’s and Amelia’s words. They were very wordy with this witch.
“Amony, who are you?” I asked. Her blue-eyes changed to a purple. Purple aura revealed itself around her in a rare, visible state.
“That’s a good question,” she said. “But I am not of my old titles anymore.”
“A better question is, what are you?” I said.
“I am a witch,” she answered. “Just a lot older than you think.”
“You lived during the witch hunt times, didn’t you?”
She didn’t respond.
“You’re probably more than just some ordinary ancient witch, immortality aside,” I continued. “Amelia and the misthanger queen—”
“Epex, that’s enough.” Sin intervened. “You, pestering our boss about her past, will not put us any closer to ending Sunset.”
I sighed. The purple light show disappeared. Her eyes changed back to blue. She turned to the window, staring at the city.
“What makes goddesses so damn high and mighty?” Elly said, standing, turning her gaze from Amony to me.
“Monarchy isn’t something new,” I told her.
“That Amelia girl didn’t look like she was ruling anything, other than you.” Elly folded her arms. “You should be careful around her.”
I shot her a glare. “Don’t speak as if you know Amelia. She gave up all of her glory just to…” I stopped midsentence as all eyes shot on me. “Never mind.”
Amony looked thoughtful. “I hope we can get her to warm up to us. I’d love to hear more about this in full detail.”
Sin chuckled. “One hell of a romance, no pun intended.”
“I still think it’s a big mistake,” Elly said.
“The way she looks at Epex tells me something totally different,” Sin said.
“All right, enough of this,” I said, face on fire.
Elly turned her gaze back to her phone. “Fuck heavenly-beings. They’re so uptight.”
I laughed. “I don’t disagree with you there, but we’re all not like that. Amelia’s pretty badass in combat too.”
Elly looked at me. “Can you really call yourself a heavenly-being?”
I shrugged. “You got a point there. I spent more time on Earth and Hell then in Paradise Realm. Still, I won’t let you bad-mouth Amelia.”
“You seem a lot more affectionate for her than before,” Sin said.
“I think he was always like this,” Amony said with a laugh. “He’s just no longer shy about showing it.” She walked over and pinched my cheek.
Elly shook her head. “Are you sure she isn’t trying to turn you in?”
“Positive,” I said, thinking about the pre-determined love of destiny thing. Yeah, there’s no way I’m telling them about that shit.
“Then is she wanted by hunters too?”
I shrugged. “I honestly don’t know. No one’s come after her yet. No one knows that she did anything. And if they did, they’ll most likely blame her actions on her imprinting.”
Elly shook her head.
“What’s your problem, anyway?” I asked.
“Just watch yourself,” she replied.
“She trusts no heavenly-being,” Sin said with a slight shrug.
“Really now,” I said. “Let me be the first to remind you that conniving and trickery is a demon thing. If a heavenly-being wanted something, they’d take it, own it, while lecturing or killing you.”
Elly sighed. “Got me there.” She met my gaze. “But I still don’t trust any of them.”
“Not even me?” I said half-jokingly.
“I don’t know. You’re different. Technically, you’re part human.”
I shrugged. There was no arguing with the succubus. We were both kind of in the same boat: two people who won’t age past twenty-five human years but could die if attacked. Yeah, immortality isn’t exactly fair.
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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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