“You said the patrol was going to be a breeze,” I told the others while unsheathing Ruin. The patrol ordeal had already become a disaster. Go figure.
“Can you not tell your Paradise Realm buddies to piss off,” Elly said. “Aren’t you…oh.”
“Catching on, are you?” I said with sarcasm staining my voice as I slashed the head off the first two misthangers that approached. Novices. The experienced fighters wasted no time and shifted to using force.
Devante finished chanting his gibberish sorcerer mumbo jumbo, held out a palm at a group of misthangers, and burned them away with an inferno of hot green energy. Holy shit. This guy was no slouch.
Elly too, fought with awesomeness, shooting powerful purple energy balls from her hands, which turned a dozen unsuspecting misthangers into ashes upon contact. She combined this with some kind of martial art that I wasn’t familiar with…all of it looked like Kung Fu to me. She hadn’t fought like this before, when Sin and I detained her—which meant she was taking this job seriously enough to train. And pretty fucking hard, from the looks of it.
Sin moved like a whirlwind, slashing dozens, easily besting both the power-wielding efforts of Devante and Elly by kill count alone. I didn’t bother showing off. The real threat awaited somewhere around here. Wasting energy is pointless. The misthangers were nothing more than fodder.
“The huntress I told you guys about is here,” I yelled to them. “Don’t be stupid and let your guard down.”
My team nodded and then in what felt like no time, mowed away the rest of the misthangers. It was either them or us. I didn’t feel remorse. Just then, a brief chill tickled my spine before she appeared beside me, hand on my shoulder. The confidence that oozed from this bitch was astounding, but after experiencing Amelia’s divine state, I felt less fear. Now don’t get me wrong, she’s a goddess. A hot form of walking instant death. I needed to know who I stood against.
“Who are you?” I asked her, allowing the others to get into position. The huntress sported what appeared to be a very expensive-looking half-dress, two diamond and gold necklaces draping down her neck, decked with rubies and emeralds. She looked as if she was dressed for a ball or is simply a queen of some foreign land. In other words, she took none of us seriously.
“You seem to have quite the spark of confidence,” the huntress said, knowing damn well she was the pot calling the kettle black. Human sayings, got to love them. “You’ve put up no fleeing effort of the hunt, even going as far as to ask of my name.” She looked thoughtful for a moment before her expression went neutral. “You know of the mystical law of give or take, right? What comes around, goes around. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. You do something stupid or evil and it comes around to bite you.” She waited for a response.
“Yeah, of course,” Devante said. “That’s pretty much life for you.”
“I’m Karma, the driving force behind it all.”
Before we could voice our doubts, she entered a divine state that dwarfed Amelia’s several thousand times over—raw power that threatened to make me shit myself. Silver heavenly-light blasted around the goddess as her wings appeared, double the size of Amelia’s wings.
The area shook like an earthquake or maybe a fucking erupting volcano. Her eye color shifted to gold, her hair, snow white. Winds circled her with hurricane strength.
When Karma spoke, her voice boomed everywhere like Conus’s did when he was pissed off or hosting a large festival.
“I am the ancient force that helped evolved humanity. I am both loved and hated, the one who punishes those who harm others. I enforce all consequences.”
“Well, you are a bitch,” Devante said unhelpfully. “Or wait, is that payback?”
“Run—” the word never came out of my mouth as force knocked as all to the ground.
“Maybe we should show some respect,” I said as I sat up, ignoring the pain. Respect…as much as I disliked the laws of Paradise Realm, I knew ancient heavenly-beings breathed them. Karma looked like a twenty-year-old, but was almost as old as Conus. She was simply a legend, the invisible punisher of mankind. Why show herself to me? As if responding to my thoughts, the light show, wind, and earthquake disappeared as she reverted to normal.
“I see the Paradise Realm teachings of respect have not been lost to you.” She smiled. “Prince Epex Helios, I felt you reach out and caress the sun yesterday. You still know your birthright. I show myself to you because you’re next in line to rule, whether you like it or not. But as you are now, letting you roam free here, the Order of the Kings will be damaged. To prevent that, I’m taking you back to Paradise Realm where you’ll face your charges, then mature into the destiny you were meant to take.”
“I don’t think so,” I said, aiming Ruin at her. She didn’t blink at the bluff. Ruin needed a shit ton more sessions of charging before it was ready to take on heavenly-beings near Conus’s age. Even seven to eight years wasn’t enough.
“Are you going to attempt some struggle for your life?” Karma said. “Or will you come quietly.”
“You mean quickly,” Devante laughed. “The vir—”
“Finish that sentence and I’ll lop off your head,” I said.
Glad to see this fucker having the time of his life while I’m being threatened. Asshole. I dug deep inside, releasing my power. The warm and gold hue of the heavenly-light, surrounded me. My aura wasn’t as fancy as the asshats of Paradise Realm, thanks to Conus’s seal, but I still had one. That counts, right?
Karma shook her head as I charged her. I swung Ruin fast and purposeful, giving her little time to think. If Karma entered her divine state, we were dead, period.
I wanted the goddess’s arrogance to be her own undoing. Sadly, she was too fast, easily dodging my swings. She poked my cheek, giggled, and dodged again.
I charged force then as she came in to tease me, unleashed it, knocking the goddess to the ground. Good. Not even she was immune to force outside of a divine state.
I rushed her, stabbing the blade down. Karma rolled out of the way at the last second then swept my leg. The fall on my back sucked.
She straddled my chest and repeatedly punched the shit out of my face with what appeared to be little effort. And holy fuck did they feel like trucks. I mustered enough force to throw the goddess off me, wiped the blood from my nose but before I could go after her, a combination of Devante and Elly’s power struck the bitch.
Sin tried to finish her off but his blade only met concrete. Karma blinked beside me via quick-ascension and shortly, I found myself flying backward. When I hit the ground, she was on top of me, beaming, heavenly-light outlining her body.
“I bet you feel nice and at home, on the bottom,” she taunted. My anger gave in to the taunt as I snarled, then knocked her to the side with force. We stood off, four on one. The reality of this situation couldn’t be denied. Karma was kicking our asses. Ha. Karma kicks everyone’s ass. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Epex, please tell me you haven’t lost your goddamn mind already,” Elly said.
“No—the irony of this fight is kind of—oof.” I didn’t even register her movement—the fist smashed into my midsection hard enough to make me drop Ruin. I fell to one knee. Fortunately, the others attacked while I recovered. They didn’t stand a chance.
“Alright, fun’s over, I’m done with this,” Karma said. Silver heavenly-light violently swirled around her like an angry tornado. She raised a finger. Beams of light struck all of my friends, rendering them unconscious.
I didn’t get the beam treatment. No, that would be too easy for me.
Karma walked over, bent down and kissed me on the forehead. Before I could think how much Amelia was going to kill us both, a jolt of pain signaling a kick to the head put me face-first of the concrete. The blackness came afterwards.
End of part two…
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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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