We landed in Amanda’s living room, alive somehow, and damn did I feel relieved.
“What the hell, why would you bring us here? He’s going to wreck my house,” Amanda bellowed.
“I couldn’t ascend us in the chapel or in the middle of the street where everyone can see us,” I said. “Come on, let’s get out of here before he appears.”
“Well, it’s not like we can stay in the same place anyway,” Jade said.
We piled into Amanda’s car and took off to the chapel. My state dimmed, its amazing power wearing off, even with Ruin sheathed. Gee thanks, Mom, you couldn’t let me turn it off and on to conserve energy.
As soon as we arrived at the chapel, Sin, Amony, Devante, and Elly came from across the street, joining up with us.
“What the hell took you so long?” Elly said.
“Well, excuse me for trying not to die.Michael’s great judgment,” I said, slightly waving my arms in an exasperated motion.
“So, THE Michael has come to personally kill you,” Amony said, as she walked over. She patted my shoulder. “Just how notorious are you?”
“That’s my question.”
We turned around to see a familiar raven-haired girl approaching us, as if appearing out of nowhere.
“Oh no,” Amelia muttered under her breath. Selina quick-ascended to her and caught Amelia in a tight hug, squealing the way all human girls seemed to do when they haven’t seen each other in a while. “I’m surprised you’re not drunk.”
“Who’s that?” Sin whispered.
“A death goddess,” I said in nonchalance. Amony flinched. Sin sighed. “I’m pretty sure she’s not going to cast some death voodoo like they seem to do in every book ever.”
“I wonder,” Elly said, shaking her head.
“Is she here because she’s expecting us to die?” Devante whispered.
“I hope not,” I said. “She’s supposedly here to drink me into a stupor.”
I glared at Sin, halting that sentence. “Even if I were that stupid, it’d never be with a death goddess.”
“I’m kidding,” Sin said. “We all know that you’re smitten and bound to your—”
“So, what’s the plan?” Selina said, interrupting all conversations. She released Amelia. I noticed that Jade, Keisha, and Amanda kept their distance from the death goddess. Did Amelia…tell them to do so telepathically? They are her followers, so maybe she could speak directly into their heads. There was no other way that could explain their cautiousness, unless it was some ridiculous “magical” human instinct.
“There’s something in the chapel that even Michael can’t ignore,” I said.
“I don’t sense anything,” Selina said.
“I think that’s the point,” I said. “Whatever’s in there cannot be detected by ordinary means.”
I flinched, as what I just said hit me in a revelation like never before. The feeling of wrongness this morning, the black feather with no traces of power, Mom’s warning and…the emptiness of this street. Was this a coincidence?
Before I could rack my brain any further, my heavenly-being senses triggered. They appeared; three hunters and one Chuck Norris-like archangel. Michael’s silver heavenly-light appeared to be even brighter than before and outlined the shit out of him—a yard thick. It reminded me of the glow that appeared around Dragon Ball Z characters when they powered up. Yes, even I watched that show, sue me.
“I guess Vor’s the only reasonable one in your group,” I said.
“The little twerp disappeared somewhere,” Cellasia said.
“Never been able to sense him,” Bronze said. “But it’s good he went home. This isn’t a job for Venus compassion. You need a heart of steel to do the Realm’s most difficult work.”
“So, your strategy was to get reinforcements,” Michael said. “This won’t help. I’m not sure what happen to that strange power of yours from earlier, but without it, you’re nothing to me. I’ll give one chance to surrender. A clean, instant death and your friends who aren’t my targets, alive. Choose.”
“We’re not going to let you do whatever you want,” Amony said.
“Witch,” Xavier said. “Very distasteful lifestyle for a human.”
“Says the afro murderer,” Amony said. “You call yourselves hunters to sleep at night.”
“And that is where you’re wrong, unknowing human,” Bronze said. “There is a difference between a soldier and a murderer. A big difference. It’s like honor and dishonor.”
“If you kill Epex, it will be murder,” Amelia said. “All of the things that happened are not his fault.”
“We don’t care,” Cellasia said. “A job is a job. We do our assignments and move on. Now enough. One thing I hate is stalling.”
“Why do you insist on making this difficult?” Michael said.
“Your answer is in this chapel,” I answered.
“Really, now,” he said. “Very well, then, stand aside. I don’t play along very often to stalling, but I will give credit where it’s due, seventh son of Conus.”
Michael used force to open the large door. Well, more like break it down. I hope he planned to replace it, the douche. Just then, the feeling of wrongness hit me like a truck. I found myself backing away from the chapel door.
“What’s wrong?” Sin asked.
“There’s something in there,” I said. “Something wrong. I don’t how to explain it, but—”
“How come we can’t feel anything?” Bronze said. “Master Michael, are we really going to play this stall game?” He stormed toward the door.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you,” I warned.
He didn’t listen, stepping inside of what we saw as darkness. My hands began to shake. The wrongness called out to me. Well, fuck that, I’m not into being a bitch of the unknown.
“Bronze,” Cellasia called. As expected, there was no answer.
“I have no time for this,” Michael said, then pointed at the chapel.
“Are you seriously going to blow the whole thing up?” Selina said. “What are you thinking, great archangel? What if you kill your comrade?”
“Silence,” Michael said, then released a large beam of heavenly-light. It didn’t even so much as penetrate the darkness. Something dripped on my arm. Then, my head…then multiple drips. I thought it was rain but when I looked at my arm, a dark crimson substance caught my attention.
“Blood rain,” I said.
Xavier drew his rapier and walked toward the entrance. “We either wait here, or we go inside. There is a bigger threat than the death of a fallen prince. Bronze could be in trouble.”
Everyone drew their weapons.
“Another group, try the other doors,” Amelia said.
Damn, my body really didn’t want to go in there, but now was not the time to back down. We marched inside, weapons at the ready.
There were crunching noises, like kind you hear when dogs chewed on hard food, except twenty times louder. They echoed off the dark walls.
What we saw at the front of the chapel, halted us. A spotlight shined down from nowhere and someone was on their fours, eating wildly…
I felt sick.
He looked up at us, red irises seeming to pierce through us. Blood and gore was all over his mouth. Large black wings, surrounded with purplish heavenly…no not heavenly-light, the aura was just wrong.
Vor held up Bronze’s head. The voice that came out sounded like two people’s voices—his and something else’s. Like a cross between an insane man’s and a demon—enough to send chills into every cell in the body.
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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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