Something within me triggered as I watched the sisters achieve a form so powerful, the pressure emitted made it hard to stand. The earth shook, as if crying. The barrier we erected earlier cracked. If this kept up, humanity would be exposed to the nuclear bomb known as the standoff between two pissed-off, powerful goddesses.
Then the fight began, too fast, too bright, too earth-shattering for me to follow. This couldn’t go on. Amelia either abandoned the plan or waited for me to do something. Like what? What could I possibly do against that kind of power? I felt raw panic flow through me as I dropped to a knee, hands trembling. We were losing and badly.
Then I heard a voice, a feminine, kind voice that was somehow familiar.
“Get up. You are better than this. Awake the part of me that slumbers within you.”
I was about to turn when the realization hit me. I don’t know how I came to this conclusion.
“Mom?” I looked around, but saw only an empty street. How did I recognize her voice—I had never met her.I stood up, confidence somehow returning to me. The voice was right. Now was not the time to bitch out. There was a time when I wouldn’t have given two shits about humanity, but now they needed me. If that barrier broke, this city would be the first to succumb to instant oblivion. Amelia’s reason was gone in that state—she had sacrificed it just to protect me. I couldn’t let that move be in vain.
“Sin,” I shouted, as a plan formed in my head.
“Right here,” he said, hurrying to my position.
“I can feel the barrier cracking,” I told him. His eyes widened, realization quickly sinking in. “Find Amony. Get her to hold it as long as she can.”
He nodded and took off in a blur.
“Awaken the part of me that sleeps within you,” the whispers echoed.
“What’s going on?” I said to nothing, then chuckled. “To think that I’d go insane when the pressure is too great. Amelia could die, I’d be cast into the depths, and Conus would have to plead with the universe to allow him to rewind earth’s time. Mom, even he has limits.”
“Awaken, for I am always with you.”
A pillar of light burst from nothing, covering my vision for two seconds before I found myself in a void of white. A purple-robed woman with dark tan skin, electric-blue eyes, and jet-black hair appeared in front of me. She placed a hand on my cheek. Warmth spread from her to me, surrounding me in an embrace.
“What in the…. Where have you been?” I managed to say, eyes wide.
“You sure have grown,” she said, seeming to ignore my question. “You changed from the cute baby that I held in my arms to a strong young man. And to think you have a young lady that truly cares for you. Epex, my son, my only son born of a miraculous virgin birth but also of your father, ruler of Paradise Realm. When you let go of the hatred, the part of me that lives inside of you stirred. Live, my son. Open your eyes and your father’s eyes. Look to where he’s looking and help him. Your sentence, you felt how unnatural it is. But to grasp the answers you are looking for, you must overcome the first trial.” She looked down at my chest. “You have to rescue humanity from both an unseen threat, and the punisher’s game. Conus cannot rewind the damage to both earth and the universe.”
“What should I do?” I asked, determination complementing the newly-found confidence within. Something about what she said worried me. Unseen threat? Did she expect me to wipe the floor with Karma, who she implied isn’t it, then take out the real deal?
“The ancient goddess is a distraction, but she is playing a dangerous game of politics. Her lonely life has clouded the memory of a vow to serve as the punisher, but in defense of humanity. Remind her. Become the Karma that she needs to balance out her deeds. Let her know that she is not untouchable.”
Mom placed a hand on my forehead. “The keys of your seal belong to me, not your father. There are seven locks. I’m going to remove the first lock. Awaken that power, that terrible power, my son, and put a stop to her political games.”
I snapped back into reality, dropping to one knee as I felt it—the barrage of power circulating in my veins. I watched the thick heavenly-light that outlined my body shift from gold to a silver. The world around me felt different. The emotions, the sounds, the hopes, and dreams of humanity and even my friends pulsed through me. I could now see the showdown between the goddesses. While Karma was better, Amelia held her own with skill that showed her former elite six status. I stood up, ready to end this. My way.
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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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