I eyed the sprite. “What could she possibly want from me?”
“Twelve miles outside of Middleburg, on the most unused street, you shall find my mistress’s manor.” Multi-colored aura bathed the sprite before he ascended away.
“Don’t even ask to go alone,” Keisha said.
I chuckled, then texted the directions to Sin, Devante, and Elly. I told them if I didn’t text within two hours, to call. If I didn’t answer or if I wasn’t around, to run. Despite my constant warnings about the hunters, everyone insisted on sticking with me.
I didn’t deserve this loyalty.
We piled into Amanda’s car and followed the sprite’s directions. Dirt roads, dirt roads, good old dirt roads—typical setup of crappy events in movies.
A mile from the destination, thick fog spawned. Somehow, though, we were able to see the manor as we approached it. At the gate, two men in body armor, armed with rifles, gestured for us to exit the vehicle. We did, slightly annoyed. At least, I was slightly annoyed.
“Our mistress is expecting you,” one of them said, as he waved a metal detector around us. Of course, it squealed. “No need for your weapons on these holy grounds. Mistress extends her protection to all guests, including her old friend.” We simultaneously looked at Amelia. She sighed.
“Misty and I…. aren’t close friends anymore, but we have a mutual understanding of our places in life. Fellow royalty, if I must say,” Amelia said.
“More like bonding over the lack of a boyfriend, back then,” the guard laughed. He smirked at Amelia’s glare, then placed the women’s guns into a box. They couldn’t see Ruin nor did their device detect it, thanks to Amelia’s glamour.
The misthanger queen was actually sitting on a throne when we entered. She dismissed her attendants and stood, her clothing simply a skimpy dress made of thick steam.
“Good afternoon,” she said. “It pleases me to see that you are respectful enough to answer my call right away.” She turned to Amelia and curtsied. Amelia did the same. “Princess Amelia Venus of the Venus clan, old friend, I am glad that you’re doing well. I wish we could chat more.”
“But that’s not why you summoned us,” Amelia finished, walking over to her. They hugged for a few seconds. “So, you were hiding here?”
“You know I can’t have my aura out and about for long without the risk of getting caught,” Misty said. “And the last thing I want to do is bring that bastard near your home.”
“True,” Amelia said.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Nothing you need to be concerned with,” Misty said. “Just keep up the good work slaying the demons. Now, I need all of you to listen, because what I’m about to tell you came from my top spies.” She eyed me. “The archangel is coming for you.”
“The archangel?” I said, giving her a skeptical look.
“Remember the angel I saved you and the half-devil body from at the university?” Misty said.
I nodded then looked at Amelia. She was pale, a haunted look in her eyes.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“There is only one I know with a title known as The Archangel,” she said softly. “This is bad—this is as bad as having Conus himself come after you with full bloodlust.”
Misty paced a back and forth twice, before continuing. “Epex, let me break down the severity of this situation. That angel felt like Paradise Realm and the hunters wouldn’t take your capture seriously enough, so he brought his concerns to the archangels in the King’s realm. There’s a good chance that he exaggerated the situation—but that got him an audience with the leader of all archangels.”
My eyes widened. I felt my stomach bubble as dread hit me like a truck. There is nothing worse than being on that hitlist. Michael’s hitlist.
“Are you certain?” I said, my voice almost a whisper. “Is he really on his way?”
“Yes,” Misty replied. “That’s why I urged you to come so that I can personally warn you. I would have you hide here, but there’s a good chance that I’m wanted too. I plan to retreat to the realm of mist until this whole thing blows over. I sugges—” she gagged. A sword retracted from her gut then a golden boot kicked Misty to the ground. The sound of a sheathing sword echoed through the quiet room of our aghast faces.
A white-haired man who looked to be in his late twenties, stood in front us, silver heavenly-light outlining him. His wings glowed with an intensity that put the sun to shame. Four hunters, three gods and a goddess, flanked him—I could tell they were hunters just by the looks in their eyes. Maybe a feeling, a supernatural sense.
I couldn’t recall feeling so much terror. I literally stared death in his eyes, and while I had always pictured myself smiling, this was on a different level. My crimes had truly caught up to me. The misthanger queen melted into mist. Shit, what to do—what could I do—now wasn’t the time to freeze. Michael was going to make that choice for me.
“Epex Helios, fallen successor to this universe’s throne, your realm has failed in realizing the urgency of justice. I’ve reviewed your records and decided to personally supervise your takedown. Hunters, do your job, and kill him.”
I reacted too slowly as intense pain flooded my shoulder. I roared in agony as I yanked the arrow out.
“Run,” I wheezed. While the others hightailed it, I dropped to my knees, feeling weak and of nauseated.
“I’m impressed,” one of the hunters said as he knelt beside me. He chuckled. “The poison on that arrow could kill even Conus.” I felt Amelia’s divine state burst into action as she engaged someone. I could only assume she had made sure her friends got away safely before coming back. But this is one fight that she couldn’t win—one that I didn’t want her to jump into. Unlike me, she still had somewhere to return to.
“Michael, I surrender. Just don’t harm the others. This is on me alone.”
“Do you believe you are in a position to bargain, criminal?” Michael said in an even tone. I forced myself to look in his direction. The super archangel smacked a volley of Amelia’s arrows away with a single finger. “Hunters, take note that a former of your elite has gone rogue.”
“I can’t believe Lady Amelia’s in league with this fool. There’s got to be some kind of mistake,” the huntress said.
“Do we really have to kill him?” A young hunter said. He appeared to be much younger than the others, maybe fifteen or sixteen.
“Vor, don’t question the orders” the hunter that shot me with the arrow said. “Honestly, I believe Michael only wants me to show all of you how it’s done.”
“Bronze, you only cheat with poison arrows,” the huntress said.
“Says the goddess who judges a weapon on nonsense like beauty,” Bronze retorted. “Cellasia, why are you even here?” They bickered some more.
I closed my eyes and forced the last of my power into the floor, walls, and roof, pleading with the molecules to convert. Like before, they resisted at first, but gave in to a desperate plea. The entire manor changed into violent, rushing water. Everyone except me and the fourth, silent hunter leapt into the air to take flight, wings out.
While I was swept away, the silent hunter didn’t budge. A tall dark-skinned man with a large afro and piercing purple eyes, he didn’t appear to be interested in anything, his focused gaze seeming to peer right through me.
Amelia took advantage of the opening and with that amazing elite six speed, quick-ascended to me, scooped me up, and ascended us, right as I blacked out from the loss of blood and the poison.
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- The Enlightener
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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