Someone nudged my arm, but I didn’t wake up. It was a goddamn off day. Why would I do anything that required me to get out of bed?
Nudge, nudge. Okay, whatever that was was beginning to piss me off. Then just like that, memories of the night before flooded into me. I sat up to see Amelia sitting beside me, a thoughtful look on her face. I felt none of the pain from last night—obvious healing courtesy of the goddess.
And damn, did it feel good to see warm green eyes and not cold gold ones. I think I may have surprised Amelia when I pulled her in for a kiss. Hot tears fell from her face, her guilt from last night manifesting in full and for a moment, I let her cry on my chest. She tried to apologize but I held up a hand. There was no fault here.
The next morning, I joined the others in the kitchen for a recovery breakfast. Keisha handed me a plate of waffles and bacon. Damn, did I love the days when it was her turn to cook. While she wasn’t as skilled as Amelia, she was the only one who succumbed to my puppy dog eyes—and thus prepared me the most unhealthy sides. Hence the bacon. None of the women ate much meat, but sometimes cooked it for my sake.
I had questions. A lot of them, but I’d hold my tongue for a while. After breakfast, I volunteered to clean up.
“All of you, take the day off,” I said. “Leave the chores and yard work to me.” Yard work was already my primary chore anyway, courtesy of Amanda’s philosophy. You bet your ass I became a lawn-moving, trash-taking out expert. Responsibility is simply a part of my training, right? Forget I said that. It took a little convincing, but eventually I kicked all of the women out.
For the next two hours, I dominated the chores while listening to music. I couldn’t help but have a thing for rap and metal. Both genres gave me a sense of empowerment, made me feel like I could accomplish anything. There were a few bad eggs that snuck into the queue, like club rap, pop, and whiny country but other than that, the music felt awesome.
This became my routine as the days passed. I trained a lot, taking lessons from Amelia, and honing my craft. Then at night, I worked, though Amony halted all Sunset-related meetings until she could finish developing an infiltration strategy with some other team. After we’d told her everything from the night Simon attacked, she seemed to have a new insight on life, tripling recruiting and drowning herself in busy work. If she and Sin had a relationship going on, it was either stretched thin or tossed onto the backburner.
Amelia and others trained really hard after their classes finished. Amelia wanted to gain control of what she called the divine state.
I didn’t object to that. Couldn’t have her going Cujo on us again.
When payday rolled around, I decided it was just about that time to get myself an apartment. I had adjusted to the human world, this city, and its customs very well. At least I thought I hadd. I could live the mundane life…I turned off the computer and stared at the blank screen. The human life is in my grasp. An exciting job, a loved one, friends.
But…I’m Epex, seventh son of Conus. A fugitive.
I couldn’t allow myself to be oblivious to the calm that smothered us before the storm.
“Are you well?” I turned around to look at Amelia. Am I well? Fuck no. I would never feel completely at ease until the bounty on my head ceased to exist. “We’re alone. Shall we mate?” Amelia said, straddling me. That snapped me out of my daze—the first kiss already planted. My phone chose that time to ring. “Oh, come on!”
I laughed at Amelia’s pout, and answered the phone. “Hello?”
“The penis pills you ordered are on the way, sir,” Sin said in a fake voice on the other end of the line.
“Oh, fuck you,” I said, grinning. “Nice try, but I didn’t put it on speaker this time.”
Sin laughed. “You’re learning.”
“So, what’s up?” I said. “You don’t do social calls.”
“Just passing on the word from Amony,” he said. “We’ve got some big patrol tonight, and you need to bring your “A” game.”
“Don’t I always?” I said.
“Not really.” He laughed.
“Someone has to be.”
I chuckled. “What time?” I asked, trying to ignore the super boner that pressed into Amelia’s crotch. She gave me a sly smile.
“Nine tonight,” he said. “Be there or be square.” He hung up. Amelia took the phone from my hands and sat it out of my reach. I guess this was it—create the son of Epex.
At this point, I could no longer resist the goddess’s intense allure, and I didn’t want to. Sadly, the front door opened, the chatter of her friends filling the edges of the front room. Amelia hopped up and I bolted to the bathroom, shutting, and locking the door behind me.
I splashed some water on my face, picturing dead puppies and baseball games. This took about fifteen seconds or so—now just wasn’t the time to take matters into my own hand. Yes, pun intended. I headed into my room, deciding to take one of those rare times to watch TV. It didn’t have the same appeal as books—my only source of entertainment during the Hell days - but still was awesome. I made a mental note to make a trip to the library.
I learned everything through books back then—math, human world history, science, English, and technology. I shuttered at the thought of my life without the leak occurring in Conus’s seal. I’d be an idiot. The brilliant C’s in which I created as a foundation wouldn’t exist. I’d lack the brainpower to come up with a circle that could actually trap him. Maybe Amelia was right…I am a prodigy. Pssh, nah. A prodigy wouldn’t have fucked up enough to get himself in a situation where every god alive wanted him dead.
And speaking of the goddess, she joined in on my Netflix bingeing. The others were in their rooms studying and completing homework assignments. The R and B music that played from Keisha’s room distracted me a little from the show, so I closed the door. Let’s get this straight: Supernatural is one of the greatest series ever.
Makes me wish I still had contact with my brothers, in a good way. Dickheads. None of them appeared to me to help, not once. That thought gave me an idea. I’m of the Helios clan. I may be a demigod but being born of the Helios meant that I could draw power from the sun. I can’t believe I hadn’t tapped into my birthright yet.
“Come with me,” I told Amelia. I led her outside.
“What’s this about?” she asked, eyes sparkling. She could sense my excitement.
“I haven’t once drawn upon the sun since I’ve been back,” I said.
Amelia’s eyes widened. “Then how are you manifesting objects? And so quickly?”
“I honestly don’t know,” I replied. “I didn’t think much about it.It’s just simple power use to me. I practiced manifestation a lot in Hell. Anyway, I need to start practicing my birthright, asap.”
It took considerable effort to connect my power to the sun. My body was used to producing power on its own. It didn’t take kindly to outside forces like leftover angelic essence, or the sun.
Still, I ignored the pain and itching, containing it. The training session lasted all afternoon. I decided not to rely on it until I mastered how to bend solar to my will. I needed someone to teach how to properly draw in the sun’s excess—Amelia knew nothing of Helios-based power use, except that the sun amplified it greatly. No one from my family would reveal anything to me now, so I felt shit out of luck. Hell, I’d be better off stealin—I mean borrowing a tome from Conus’s library.
That night, I waved Amelia off, to go to work, promising to call if I get myself into something way over my head. It was a simple, large-scale patrol, right? I wouldn’t need her babysitting for something this easy.
“This night should be a breeze,” I said, ten minutes into the city patrol. I should’ve kept my mouth shut. This was literally one of those stupid, “what could possibly go wrong?” moments. One of those times that the work day should’ve been easy but unexpected visitors ruined it. Standing ahead of us in the deserted street were a fuck ton of misthangers.
Somehow, I just knew they didn’t belong to the the queen from before. They pulled out glistening silver daggers, ready to charge. Oh and let’s not leave out the fucking fact that the scent of honey and roses filled the air. Great! Just my goddamn luck. The huntress was back.
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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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