I woke up early, and I mean really fucking early—six in the morning early. My goddess was there, cuddled against me, asleep. My goddess…I shook away such silly thoughts. This isn’t Romeo and Juliet. Sappy thoughts are for the doomed.
More doomed than I am. I did feel relief at her presence, because when I had arrived last night, the house was empty. Amelia and her friends were normally back by ten. I did receive one text from her in response to mine: be back later aka BBL. If humans hadn’t created Google, I’d be fucked when it comes to figuring out some of their pseudo-language.
That text stopped me from investigating. Of course, if I felt any wrongness to it or any presence that shouldn’t be in the city, I would’ve gone after them. But they’re adults and having a girls’ night out was a thing.
As I sat up, I felt a hand grab my arm. I peered into bright green eyes. Before I knew it, I kissed her. Amelia returned the passion and we made out for a few minutes. She tried to take it to the next step but my rationality returned along with my knowledge of goddess biology. Sex with Amelia would only be for baby-making, sadly. She would have it no other way. Yeah, shitty teachings from Paradise Realm.
Well, actually there was an exception. Marriage. She knew it too. I could have her whenever I wanted, when I wanted, if I tied that knot. A Paradise Realm marriage was eternal, unbreakable. And fucking pointless. The pre-determined love of destiny thing is basically an arranged marriage.
“If I didn’t have class, I’d join your meeting,” Amelia said after breakfast. I made sure to sheath Ruin and strap it to my side. Amelia cast some kind of glamour that hid it from humans. Goddess powers, figures. “I’d like to hear more of Amony’s intel on Sunset.”
“That goes without saying,” I said. “I’d rather this city remained Fallen-free.”
The last thing we needed was a nightmare worse than the hunters. They’ve been known to give even powerful heavenly-beings trouble. And there were hundreds of rumors about them. I started toward the door but Amelia cleared her throat loudly. “What?”
She sighed. “Goodbye kiss.”
Her friends walked in with grins just as I kissed her. I flushed at the sight of them.
“Well, well, I see you’ve finally awakened the man within, Amelia,” Amanda said. Jade and Keisha laughed.
“Well, look at the time, love to chat but I’m out,” I said as I hauled ass out of there. The last thing I heard was Jade’s voice.
“I told you. He loves you even more than you love him.”
Nosey humans, goddammit. Maybe it’s just a female thing. When it came to TV or movie romance, I swear they had a saying about everything.
It was a cloudy morning with slight breezes every now and then. Traffic varied from moderate to heavy. Driving in the city can be a pain in the ass, but if my job wasn’t an easy walk, I’d probably consider a car.
Well, ascending would do. Too bad humanity isn’t ready for such a sight.
Everyone seemed to be in a light mood, as we waited for Amony to show up. There didn’t seem to be a day where she didn’t come in late, but hey, the boss could do whatever the fuck she wanted as long as the employees were paid. Am I right or am I right? She eventually dragged her ass in, coffee mug in hand, tired face.
“Devante, give them the latest findings on Sunset I sent you last night,” she said with a yawn, before lazily plopping onto her chair.
“Sure, I guess though if it weren’t for Elly, we wouldn’t have obtained this much information,” he said.
“No thanks necessary,” Elly said smugly. “Just keep paying.”
I shook my head slightly and chuckled.
Devante’s care-free expression changed into seriousness as he began his brief. “The leader is a devil that goes by the Drifter.”
“Lame,” I said.
“Yeah, I know,” Devante said. “He’s basically the godfather in a mafia made of demons and a few other creatures.”
“There are other creatures?” I said. “You know, besides witches and sorcerers?”
The amusement didn’t leave Devante’s face. “I would think you, of all people, would know.”
“No shit. I’m kidding you, jackass,” I said. “What other creatures?”
“Fucked if I know, virgin princess,” he answered, wiping away any sense of smugness that showed on my face. “Shit in the myths, I’m guessing.”
I sighed. “We’ll just keep them all in the demon categories.”
“Okay, can I finish?”
“Epex, don’t interrupt anymore, please,” Amony said.
I didn’t bother objecting, But come on, what’s wrong with being a little curious about what we’re going to face? I’d like to know what I’m going to either put a bullet into or whose head I’m going to send rolling down three flights of stairs.
Anyway, Devante went on and on about Sunset: from suspect hideouts to crimes committed, how arrogant this Drifter guy was, possible meeting times, and so on and on. I stopped paying attention to stare at Elly’s breasts after twenty minutes of the sorcerer’s nonstop babbling. I turned away seconds before she caught me. A hand smacked on the table in front of me.
“What? I’m listening.”
“Epex, any reason you’re no longer taking this seriously? I’m pretty sure pay is not the answer. Is it overpay?”
I glared at her. “You know damn well it’s not overpay.”
She sighed. “Boredom. Fine, then. Guess wha? A new job came in this morning. I’m sending all of you to Epex’s favorite spot, Middleburg University.”
“You’ve got to be kiddi—”
Amony interrupted me. “There are wannabe witches—college brats playing with Ouija boards every night. They’ve unknowingly gathered enough demonic energy through their spot. Sources confirmed their meet tonight will start attracting them. You will find and destroy the boards, then educate the girls.” She cast a sideways glance at Devante. “You’re a professor. Make yourself useful. I want you all out there by ten tonight. Dismissed.”
“Well, fuck,” I said as I sat there, put in my place. My witchy boss knew it, too, as she walked out, vibe filled with satisfaction. I turned to the others. “Another night of bitchwork, great.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” Sin said, grin curling across his face.
“Cry me a river,” I said.
“Don’t think so,” Devante said, his devious smile forming too. “A mission of college girls—”
“Epex, you are a genius,” Sin interrupted. Elly shook her head.
“Fucking morons. We’re not going there to screw around.” She swatted at the back of both of their heads. She then pulled me out of my seat. “We’ll catch you two later.” She looked at me. “You and I need to have a little talk.”
“Sure thing, go off to your virgin, dickless wonderland,” Devante said. Both he and Sin burst into laughter.
“Oh, fuck off,” I said as I followed the succubus, but not without giving them the middle finger. If I hadn’t made that promise to Elly, I would’ve charged emotion and turned them into uncontrollably horny bastards. They’d be begging me to undo, it while running from the human police trying to lock them up for sexual assault.
As soon as we were outside, Elly turned to me, folding her arms.
“Are you okay?” she asked. I blinked.
“Yeah, I guess, why?”
“You’re a little, on the edge,” she said. “Did something happen?”
“Nope, nothing important,” I lied.
“It’s nothing, dammit. I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the mood to barf my own issues onto anyone else.”
Elly shrugged. “If you say so.”
To think she could read my problems on my face so easily kind of annoyed me. I like my emotions hidden behind a mask. Goddamn succubus. She was right, though. The hunter could pop in and out of existence in the blink of an eye, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
I headed home after Elly walked off. How in the hell did I end up working alongside of a half-breed devil with good conduct, a virgin succubus, a witch, and a sorcerer? You’ve probably read in your little mythology books that these creatures are red flags to everyone, especially heavenly-beings.
I thought that once, but these guys are the oddballs of their species. Me, too. Is it a coincidence I ended up getting to know them? Not that I cared anyway. I couldn’t hide from the hunters. I’d have to enjoy as much time in the human world as possible before there was hell to pay. I had known that, always. What’s that saying humans shout before doing something stupid? You only live once.
As I rounded the block, I heard a voice speak from the sky. A voice that I heard before. One that shouldn’t be speaking.
“Epex Helios, of the Helios clan, the pre-destined lover of Princess Amelia Venus of the Venus clan. The demigod who got himself into trouble yet displayed selflessness for the first time in his life in order to save a human. You’ve managed to go on so long without getting dragged back to Hell. You who live as Conus’ biggest mistake. Half god, half sheep. You’ve gotten arrogant after managing to force me back to Paradise Realm. You who are Paradise Realm’s biggest mistake.”
Before I could say anything, a hand lifted me up in a chokehold.
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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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