“This demigod is a guest of my territory, so go home,” Misty said in an even voice, though there was more behind that voice than it let on. Haze covered her like a skimpy dress, but she didn’t seem to give a fuck at whether we leered or not. The angel turned his glare to me.
“This isn’t over. I will make sure word gets around.”
“I don’t think you heard me, so let me make this clear.” Misty placed a finger on his shoulder. In a brief shimmer of red and blue, seizure-inducing light, the angel vanished.
“Oh crap,” Sin whispered. “Did you—”
“I simply forced him back to Paradise Realm,” Misty said as she walked over to me. She outlined my chin in a finger-cold caress and then simply disappeared. Sin and I blinked at each other.
“If you bed her, you’ve got to tell me what it’s like,” Sin said.
“Shut the fuck up,” I said before bursting into laughter along with him.
Sin dropped me off at Amanda’s—can’t go around in bloody clothes.
We met back up at Secure Corps and explained the events over lunch to Amony. She barely reacted, as if this was common occurrence.
“Let’s do some training this afternoon,” Amony said, at the end of the meal. “Then we’ll have our Sunset meeting tomorrow morning instead of tonight.”
She contacted the others to relay the message. I thought about texting Amelia, but decided against it. She didn’t seem too impressed with us last time. While it would be wise to invite the powerhouse, I doubted she’d have time to entertain what’s supposed to be my job.
“All right, everyone should be here in about an hour or so” Amony said. Her gaze turned to Sin with a look that I had only seen when I met them at the bar. When the demi-devil placed his arm around her. “Sin, I need to speak with you in my office. Epex, you’re free to stay or go until the others get here. Maybe change into some gym clothes.”
Shaking my head, I shooed them off. “I’ll be fine. Just go have your ‘top-secret’ discussion.” Amony’s private quarters were on the hidden basement level. Other than fuck Sin’s brains out, she probably did her witchy ritual shit there. Stuff that I’d rather not see.
I thought about how much it sucked that the hunters had found me so quickly. Well, I guess that’s why they’re called hunters—protections or not, I couldn’t hide forever. I didn’t want to ditch Middleburg but it definitely had hit my Not Safe list. At least, not safe for me. Damn. Someone tapped my shoulder. I turned to see Elly standing there in casual clothing. Long jeans, tennis shoes, and sky-blue shirt. This is a super big deal, because I never heard of a succubus wearing anything that was not skimpy as hell. They had prey to get.
“What the hell are you doing?” she said, as she sat in the chair next to me. “Never mind. You were in here alone. I don’t want to know.”
“I was pretty much ditched by the horny dynamic duo,” I said, ignoring her sexual jab. There’s a time and a place to utilize the right hand. Not in a corporate building.
“So, you’re just sitting here, planning to wait for an hour? Because Devante isn’t quite done teaching yet.”
“Either great minds think alike, or you’re just bored,” I said.
“Well, I needed to talk with the witch about Sunset stuff,” Elly said.
I chuckled. “You are a succubus. Why not walk in on them while absorbing their energy and just start blabbing away.”
“No thanks, I really don’t want to see that shit.”
“You sure?” I said with a laugh. “Do you not need to refill your sexy energy gauge?”
Elly shot me a glare. “If you must know, I’m already full.”
“Ah. Did you force Middleburg University into a giant orgy again?” I said. “There are some things humans do that—”
“No,” she interrupted in a slightly-shrill, embarrassed voice. “I only did that out of boredom. I can absorb energy within a one-mile radius. In a city like this, people are always having sex.”
“Not sure who wins at the reproduction contest. Humans or rabbits?”
“The humans, of course,” she said.
“Am I hearing an argument between two virgins?” Devante laughed, as he walked in dressed in another goddamn black suit and matching tie. I was a little jealous of the fedora. Note to self: buy myself a fedora.
I shot him a glare. “Fuck you. I’ve got an excuse.”
“Yeah, no, you don’t,” he said as he sat across from us.
I looked at Elly in surprise. “As for you. You’re shitting me, right?”
Elly flipped Devante off, blushing so hard that I had no choice but to laugh.
“Okay, do explain please. How the hell are you a virgin succubus?” I managed to say, barely containing my laughter.
She folded her arms. “Just because my biology requires certain energy from nature doesn’t mean I’m going to defile my body with strangers.”
“I thought succubae loved sex?” I said, legitimately confused. Who wouldn’t be? This wass a new one for me. It’s like introducing a vegetarian wolf or a fish that’s allergic to water.
Elly shrugged. “So what? I’m my own person. And a virgin male has no right to laugh at anyone.”
Now I felt my own blush. “Should anyone be reminded as to why I have an excuse?”
Devante chuckled. “Enlighten us.”
“Did Amony fill you in on anything, asshole?”
“She gave me the basics but just because you were in Hell for the past eight years doesn’t excuse you. Aren’t you married to a goddess?”
“No,” I said.
“You live with a bunch of hot women. Explain, please.” Devante pushed.
Elly sighed. “Devante, if he was stupid enough to seduce Amelia’s followers, would he be in one piece with us right now?”
He laughed. “Probably not.”
“There’s no probably in that sentence. Provoking a goddess is like sticking your finger into a river of lava just to see what it feels like,” I said.
“Still, Epex, I can help you get laid,” he said with a laugh.
“Fuck off,” I said.
“You sure? There were a few girls asking about you.”
I blinked. “Well if you insist—”
Elly smacked a hand on the table. “You can have your stupid guy talk somewhere else. The witch is coming.”
“My offer will always be valid, Epex. There’s going to be party at my place soon. Lots of hot women, free food, free beer.”
I shook his hand. “Free beer, my weakness. I’ll be there.”
Elly sighed. “Idiots. I need a drink. Sign me up for that party too.”
Amony and Sin walked in. You could tell the horny rabbits had had sex just by the glow on their faces. I decided to ruin the moment.
“No one gives a shit that you two fu—”
Elly squeezed my arm with unnatural strength, sending a spike of pain that shut me up. Amony took her place at the head of the table, Sin sitting at her side. She acted as if she hadn’t heard my incomplete comment, but her expression made it clear.
“So, about this training?” Devante said.
“Ah yes, we’ll start with some physical training,” Amony said. “So, I’d appreciate it if you’d get in some gym clothes—didn’t I tell you that over the phone?”
Devante waved off the comment. “I train in what I fight in.”
“The warm-ups include running,” she said in an even tone.
“Nothing new to me,” Devante said. “Besides, it’s cold as balls out there.”
“It’s really not that cold,” Elly said. “A little chilly, but great training weather.”
“You northerners are all the same, I swear.” He folded his arms. “Are we going to train or stare at my suit in envy. If you want me to prove my athleticism in this wardrobe, then let’s get this salt train derailed and the sweat pumping.”
“Salt train?” I said.
“Stupid memes,” Elly whispered to me.
“Shouldn’t that stay as internet language?” I said.
“Long story, I’ll explain later,” Elly said.
When we were outside the Secure Corps building, a thought dawned upon me.
“Amony, why are you not dressed for the occasion?” I said, taking notice of her business attire: skirt and blouse, as if she was secretary of the year. “I’m pretty sure you’re not here to teach us how to sit at an office desk all day and drink coffee.”
“Supervising,” she said. “I give you guys jobs, and pay you to do them. If I join and die, how will you get paid?” I shrugged and let her off without further comment. “All right, I want all you to split into teams. Epex and Elly, Sin and Devante.”
Devante grinned. “Team Virgin versus Team Stud.”
Sin laughed, as I felt Elly’s blush glow hotter than mine. “Are you serious? I mean I give Epex a pass, his nut sack has been fried for the past eight years. But Elly, a succubus.”
“Fuck you!” Elly barked.
“If you want, I can make you a wom—I’m only kidding,” Sin said as he raised two hands in surrender to Amony’s glare.
“You don’t have to be such assholes.” Elly folded her arms.
“Not assholes. More liked baffled buffoons,” Sin said.
“If you horn-dogs are done harassing your co-worker, we can get down to some practice,” Amony said.
“Horn-dogs, huh?” I said, giving her a look.
“Don’t you start,” Amony said. “Both teams give yourselves about ten to twenty feet of room. You’re going spar.”
“Is it okay for us to be doing this out here in the open?” I said.
“No one will see. Trust in my wards a bit.”
We took our places. Remember when Sin kicked my ass the last time we fought? Well, rest assured, I refuse to let it happen again. Seriously, Amelia’s training nearly possessed me as I entered the fray.
Team work wasn’t out of her lessons. I let myself be an example to Elly as I took on my own opponent, but assisted her whenever she nearly went overboard. The feisty demoness should remember to not accidentally kill her allies.
Devante and Sin were incredibly tough. Eventually, Devante and Elly ended up watching as Sin and I duked it out one on one. We both knew it was going to come to this. A score left unsettled. Amony reluctantly allowed it.
I dashed for the demi-devil, starting the new fray with the first swing. He blocked, aimed a finger at me, and hit me with three shots of pure force. I staggered, but remained standing.
Sadly, that was all the time Sin needed as he was on me, ruthlessly. I hopped on the defenses, barely blocking. He continued, relentlessly. Suddenly, he kicked me to the ground. I rolled over, hopped up, and bashed him with my own force. Sadly, my second and third attempts at force didn’t reach him.
I had no intention of letting this be a repeat of last time. Among the things that Amelia had taught me, losing twice wasn’t one of them. Being that he had fought alongside me for a bit, Sin probably could predict some of my moves. Even so, I had a few tricks that not even he knew of. I charged emotion.
Emotion-based moves wouldn’t work against determined enemies very well but in a setting like this—one that was not life or death, I’d have a bit of fun. I funneled the power into Ruin by focusing on it. It shimmered in response.
Sin was a split second from bringing the fray back to me. I ducked and dodged then following Amelia’s training, pivoted in a way that put me behind him. Technically, I would have won.
Against an ordinary opponent. Sin immediately vanished—a forward movement so quick that I almost mistook it for quick-ascending.
But that’s what I wanted. I had a present for all of them.
I stabbed Ruin into the ground and released the energy into an invisible explosion. Everyone but me became smitten with wanting to bang anything that had two legs, Sin included.
The hungry looks in their eyes made me laugh so hard, my side ached. Sin jumped Amony and was seconds from ripping her clothing off. I pulled Ruin from the ground just in time, undoing the effects.
Devante hadn’t moved but Elly was right behind me, her hand on my shoulder.
Everyone looked at her with widened eyes. She blushed.
“Don’t look at me, it was his stupid spell!” she snarled, punching me in the back.
“Ow, but I deserved that,” I said, with a laugh.
“What the hell did you do?” Devante said, his voice in awe.
“Turned all of you into horny fucks.”
Now he was laughing. “Are you serious?” Devante said. “That power, it could be so useful at—”
“No!” Elly said. “Epex, promise me you won’t do that again.”
“Jeez, calm down, it was just a prank. I wouldn’t let you embarrass yourselves any more than you already have.”
“I know, but still promise me,” Elly said. “It’s a disgusting power.”
“All right, whenever I use emotion, I won’t make people want to fuck each other. Happy now?”
“I’m guessing you believe in fair and square,” Devante said to Elly and then laughed.
“Oh fuck off. You’ll stick your thing in anything.”
“Thing?” Devante’s mocking grin only widened.
“Knock it off!” Amony said. “Acting like a bunch of children. Training is done for today. Meet here in the morning, well rested and ready to talk Sunset.”
We all nodded.
“You got it, boss,” I said. Then turned to Elly. “If you still want to fuck my brains out, the offer is still good.”
She punched me in the gut. I let out a wheezing laugh. Man, I could never tire of that blush.
“Don’t be an ass, virgin boy,” she said. “How about making up for your stupidity? Lunch, on you.”
My smile melted away, but I let her off. “Fine, what do you want?”
“Italian. And I know the perfect place.”
Let me say that Italian food is amazing. I never thought rich sauces, pasta, and “true” pizza could send my taste buds to a heaven that left fast food far behind in the dust. Well, to be honest, I had never had Italian but holy fuck, did I not know what I was missing. My wallet wheezed in agony. Poor guy, paying for this meal.
I glanced at Elly whose cheerful expression flourished as she took another bite out of her food. Even an earthborn demoness could enjoy life without being hunted. Long wavy brown hair, bright hazel eyes, and a rack that would make any man take at least three looks. I found it hard to believe that succubae would even consider virginity. Biology or not, predators are still predators, right?
“Do you want to go to the bar?” Elly said after I paid the horrendous bill. We were sitting on a bench, underneath a dim streetlight while waiting for the cab. I considered the brilliant idea for a moment then looked at the time. A beer or twelve sounded great. Of course it did.
“Not tonight,” I said.
“Goddess troubles?” Elly said with a wink.
“No,” I said. “I’m hoping to be sober for meeting in the morning, believe it or not.”
Elly chuckled. “If you say so.” She knuckle-tapped my shoulder.
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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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