I stepped into the pharmacy, focused. The first thing that caught my eyes was the mirror on the ceiling.
Scanning it, nothing seemed to be amiss, just shoppers roaming the isles for overpriced products. Normal. In fact, everything seemed to be too normal.
Amony’s contacts better not have fucked this up again. The last time we were misinformed almost got us killed. I shoved the thought of the graveyard battle from my head while I pulled out my phone.
The first thing I did was reply to Amelia’s text. Afterwards, I sent a mass text to Sin, Elly, and Devante, which read: WTF. THERE’S NO ONE HERE. I made sure to type the message in all caps for emphasis. Apparently, humans did that to express a written version of a yell. Devante responded first with a useful suggestion: Try casting emotion. The fucker is very good at disguising himself. He’ll be completely unaffected by the spell though.
I responded with: Be ready to catch him. He will run again.
I put my phone away, charged power into my hand, and then released the invisible energy into the air. Of course, I walked around and pretended to shop while doing this. There was no dramatic hand raise like those you see on TV, just a flick of the wrist. No one would be escaping the emotion, not even the guy taking a shit in the bathroom.
Everyone began to cry. I scanned the ceiling mirror until at last, I found him.
The gangly-looking teen boy with red hair, dressed in gym shorts and a plain white shirt. The demon looked up and grinned, then proceeded to running out the backdoor into the blackness of an eight-o-clock evening.
“Oh, you mother—” I dashed after him.
My Secure Corps team didn’t disappoint me. At the dim empty parking lot, they surrounded the grinning fuck, who didn’t let go of his human guise just yet.
“Listen here, ass-muncher, we can do this the easy way or we’ll bash your face in,” Elly snarled.
The demon boy didn’t seem at all intermediated. He simply snickered, almost driving the succubus to attack but I held up a hand.
She knew by that gesture to not recklessly charge into a fight with the first Sunset member we’ve found, ever. After chasing him around the city for hours, now wasn’t the time to screw it up.
“He didn’t talk the first time, I doubt he’ll talk the second time,” the demon boy said.
“Stop reading my mind right before I speak,” Devante said. Sin snickered, soliciting a glare from the sorcerer. The demon laughed.
“Keep laughing,” I said as I placed my hand on the ground. “You won’t be going anywhere this time.”
I sent a wave of power into the ground, focusing the finicky molecules beneath the demon’s feet. I asked them to change.
Two hands made of asphalt, emerged from the ground and grabbed the demon boy’s leg. He struggled but the hands wouldn’t budge. I mentally pat myself on the back for practicing Conversion like crazy. The ability is literally a life-saver, though not practical for moving enemies. I also must be close to objects, sometimes making contact, for them to change shape.
As for its cousin ability, Manifestation, which allowed me to create almost any object at a steep cost of my power. Often, creating things would drain my inner tank faster than Usain Bolt crossing a 40-meter finish line.
“What the hell is this, let me go,” the demon boy whined.
“Okay, Elly say the line again,” I said.
She grinned evilly and then walked over to boy whose eyes were widening. However, when she got close, he did something crazy. With both hands, he cuffed the succubus’s breasts.
I winced as she smashed her fist into his face hard enough to break his nose.
That’s when he changed.
Sharp crackling buffed through the air as the boy’s features became grotesque. His skin altered from a pale white to grey and hardened into a scaly sharpness. His face became shark-like, the snout enlarging to the size of a small cat. The demon’s gym clothes stretched to their limits but somehow held together. Eventually we had ourselves some kind of sharkman, standing before us. He took one step, easily breaking the grip of the asphalt hands.
“You lot have balls, challenging Sunset like this,” the demon said. “But you fucked up.”
In a blink, a grey fist the size of a basketball sent Elly flying about twenty yards. Well, that’s the cue, I suppose. I charged force but before I could do anything, the sharkman was on me, throwing punch after punch.
I blocked each. They felt like trucks and after the seventh punch, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I ducked and countered with a leg sweep. The sharkman jumped at the last second.
Devante’s blast of blue sorcery struck him like a lightning bolt.
Sin leapt into the air at that second and stabbed his arm, drawing purplish blood that smelled like five years of dumpster water.
The demon laughed then became intangible. That allowed Elly’s kick to go right through him. The intangibility lasted only a few seconds, but it gave the sharkman enough time to hop back to his feet.
Going intangible is one of the biggest power-killers—I doubt he’d risk trying the move again. Still, he needed to be detained.
I had just the handcuffs. I charged force but like before, the sharkman immediately rushed at me. This asshole wasn’t going to give me the chance to utilize any power against him.
I focused on dodging and then countered with a punch that connected to his snout. I followed up with three more punches and then kneed him as hard as I could in his gut.
The demon wheezed but wouldn’t go down. He opened his mouth, bellowing a roar, revealing a double row of super sharp shark teeth. I quickly hit him with the charged force, knocking the fuck back a few feet. Killing was not an option.
“Killing is not an option,” the demon said than laughed. “You think you can kill Sunset members? You’re a half-sheep!”
I didn’t let his taunting get to me, no instead I focused, watched his movement carefully. As embarrassing as this sounds, my mate taught me how to fight.
To be fair, Amelia is not only a goddess, but tops as the sixth best heavenly-hunter in the universe. An elite.
The sharkman was not ready for Elly’s primary attack. She aimed a hand at him and fired a purple ball of deadly energy.
The demon roared as it blasted him ten feet into the air. He recovered and bashed all of us to the ground with a pop shot of force.
Before we could recuperate, the shithead took off running.
I was the first up, sprinting after him, but the sharkman form was just too fast. Seconds later, the target vanished.
“Fuck!” I yelled in the middle of a crowd street. Everyone turned to stare at me. I came up with a quick lie. “I lost a bet.”
“Ah, that sucks bro,” someone said.
I wanted to smash an egg into his face. The walk back to the others felt embarrassing. Losing the lead twice, taking a cheap shot at that. In fact, it felt like he was simply toying around with us the entire time—serious foes would’ve thrown force at the start of the fight.
I needed a beer.
“This assignment sucks,” Sin said as I approached the group. They were waiting for me under a street light.
“Any bright ideas, before we go tell the witch we suck again?” I said.
Devante grinned as he stood up from the ground. He held up a grey scale the size of a lemon.
“I will work with Amony to track him—this isn’t a failure man.”
“Fuck yeah!” Elly and I cheered simultaneously.
Yep, that’s me and the crew, demon exterminators with a mission to stomp down a mafia-like demonic organization known as Sunset.
I’m Epex Helios, demigod and for those you who didn’t take the time to peek at my last book, Sunset is actually the least of my worries. Yes, they are bound to attract the Fallen, but in the long term.
My problem is with the short term. I’m still wanted dead by Paradise Realm, my prior homeland, for accidentally blowing the earth up like a Dragon Ball Z villain. Conus, my father and the ruler of the universe, did the rewind time thing, but I still had to be punished for it. I burned in Hell for eight years before catching Conus off guard, which led me to escaping the shithole.
Since then, I’ve been on the run from hunter gods that want to kill me. Yeah. Look, I’m not going to recap those days, just read my other tome.
At ten, I lazily dragged my ass into my apartment. It still felt surreal to be living on my own in the human world after having virtually eight years ripped away in torment. Amelia’s friends were great hosts, but my presence there threatened to attract trigger-happy hunters. I felt her presence before she spoke. Well, I knew she was here already since she has a key to my apartment.
“How’d it go?” Amelia said. Before I could reply, she kissed me.
“He got away, but left behind a scale. Devante and Amony are going to use some witchity witch voodoo track him.”
Amelia’s brief grimace reminded me of her hate of witchcraft. Not too surprising for a goddess.
“So, how’d you do on the exam?” I said as I pulled off my clothes, pursuing the shower. I took one extra second to engulf my goddess in a nightgown then let the rest of the reality crush that lusty hope away. Amelia is down to the core when it comes to Paradise Realm teachings—she was born and reared there. And though she attempted to seduce me many times, it was all to have a child. You see, anyone born in Paradise Realm is paired with a destined one by an unseen force. To be honest, I don’t know much about it. In fact, I don’t think anyone does—we simply refer the phenomenon as “the bond.” It’s not mind control and forces no one together.
“Aced,” she said, following me.
“Humans at that university call it one of the hardest exams on earth,” I said.
“It’s not hard if one simply studies,” she said. “A lot. The girls and I nailed it.”
I attempted to close the door behind me, but Amelia quick-ascended through, sly smile on her face.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” she said, attempting to pull off my boxers. “Think of this as a medical observation.”
I sighed, not willing to let my hopes get up. There’s no such thing as casual sex to those of Paradise Realm, unless with your destined one for the specific task of reproduction. The other option is marriage.
“Is that your excuse?” I said playfully. The shower turned on by itself in my favorite configuration, courtesy of the goddess’s telekinesis. The half second distraction was just long enough for her to rip my boxers off. The material repaired itself in seconds the moment it touched the floor. Jealousy of mankind slightly breezed across me—because if we were both human, I’d be getting lucky without any costs, except of the condom.
I swallowed my pride, grabbed the shower gel, and stepped into the shower. Before I got all the way in, Amelia smacked my ass, soliciting a frown from me. The amazing warmth of the shower water in combination with the gel washed today’s troubles down the drain. Amelia’s stare felt palpable. I shot her a glare.
“Let me wash your back,” she said. Before I had the chance to respond, her nightgown and underwear was on the ground and the cold sensation of shower gel being squeeze on my back made me slightly flinch.
“And they say men are the horniest,” I said. She squeezed one of my cheeks in response, causing me to flinch.
“You say that, but a certain external organ of your body seems to be enjoying this, a lot.” Amelia chuckled.
“You’re an evil goddess,” I said softly. She caressed my back in a way that somehow made sure the excite was not going away anything soon.
“Let’s go for it,” Amelia said in a soothing tone. A tiny flake of power mixed itself into her words. “We don’t have to worry about any friends busting in and ruining the mood.”
“I don’t have any condoms,” I said, knowing exactly where this was heading, unaffected by the goddess seduction. Not that she needed to use it—Amelia nabbed a habit of doing things just to gage my reaction.
“You know I’m not talking about human casual sex,” she said. I finished washing, including my hair, and then shut off the water.
“Why not?” I said as I grabbed my towel. Before she could answer, I continued. “Look, we’ve had this conversation many times.” I started for the door. “We never budge.”
Amelia quick-ascended in front of me.
“You know it’s not pure.” She sighed. “When you rustle around a few times in the middle of the night, is that you relieving yourself?”
I felt the heat of my face hit volcanic temperatures.
She laughed. “Oh, you thought I didn’t know?”
“So what,” I said, almost stammering. I moved around her and opened the door. “It’s a normal guy thing, you wouldn’t understand.” I tried to hurry to the room, but the persistent goddess teleported in front of me again. I instinctively took an eye full of her nakedness. The mountain rose.
Amelia gave me a devilish grin.
“There’s only one way to fix this,” she said. “And quite frankly, the more you delay this, the more insulted I feel.”
“The line of a rapist,” I said. There was a moment of silence before we both burst into laughter. I used that moment as an excuse to start walking to my room. Amelia went back to fetch her nightgown.
The tiredness hit the moment I stepped into the bedroom. Amelia shut off the TV. I joined her in bed, though nothing eventful happened—humans are so much luckier. Before I could drift off to sleep, Amelia was on top of me. A kiss later, the mountain was back in the air again.
“Just let me sleep,” I said with a laugh. She lied her head on my chest instead.
“Or you could pepper me with romance instead,” Amelia said. The mountain hit the surface of her crouch. She looked amused, feeling my will weaken. “You take me out on frequent dates but miss one thing.” I tried to break the seduction but couldn’t—I wanted her too badly. “How long will you keep me waiting?”
I snapped out of the seduction, gently pushed her off, and turned to the side.
“After the hunter problem is over,” I said. “Well after. Like you once said, what’s time to us.” You’d think a line like that would piss her off, but Amelia simply shrugged.
“You’re right,” she said, “but…we’re a couple. Shouldn’t we—”
“It’s the human way or wait,” I interjected then turned to her. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere.” She gasped.
“Do you mean it?” Amelia said.
“Yeah,” I said. She caught me in a tight embrace, followed by a kiss, then another embrace.
“Sometimes it bothers me to let you work with that succubus,” Amelia said.
“Elly’s not the evil demon you’ve got in your head. Besides, she’s a virgin succubus.”
A silent moment before we burst into laughter.
“Are you serious?” Amelia said then laughed again. “A virgin succubus? I can’t believe they exist.”
“Devante teases her to no end about it,” I said. Ah, good old humor at Elly’s expense. We ended up cracking jokes about random things for another hour before falling asleep. I wouldn’t a trade a night like this for anything else. Yeah, not telling the romance goddess that.
It took about a half-hour or so to spawn into the dream world. Unlike humans, my spirit traveled here and I have full control of my movements.
The dream world is located somewhere beneath the land of the dead—but that’s a secret hidden in folk tales. As usual, I had on the same clothes I slept in. I imagined myself with some pants and shoes on then glanced around.
My heart dropped at the setting. Rainbows everywhere, a smiling sun, unicorns and fluffy rabbits dancing about on giant cakes meant one thing: fairy territory.
Due to the male fairies missing for millennia, fairies are an all-female entity. Pushed back to the dream world due to a war with beings called sprites, they had stolen the agenda of the succubae. In fact, they were worse. The creatures seduced mostly human men, supposedly fell in love and tricked suckers into thinking they’re in a sweet dream. Then kaboom, the saps are trapped into the dream world—but in the real world, the phenomenon is diagnosed as a coma.
I was unsure if they fed on vitality or sexual energy like the demons did but it wasn’t a stretch to assume so. The only hope for men was to wait for Teemie, a dream angel that patrolled every dream. The fairies obeyed her as if she were a queen. Her origins are still a mystery to me though.
I could see the winged women moseying around, having tea or conversations. I was prepared to turn around when someone whispered into my ear.
“I see you’re pent up.” My blood went cold as I spun to see one of the mischievous creatures gazing at me.
“You’re mistaken, fairy,” I said with venom tinging the edges of my voice.
“No need for hostility, I just want to help. You’re in the dream world. So, who cares if you released here.” The woman moved closer until she was just a hair’s touch away. “Look, I haven’t had a male’s touch in centuries.” She placed a hand on my chest. “And you won’t get any from that goddess unless you either initiate in that risky vow of Paradise Realm marriage or become a father. And since we both know you’re not ready for that—maybe when you’re nearly thirty—you’re stuck in a bind. Even old righty reliable will get boring after a while.” She placed her lips at my neck. “So why not use me. At least I won’t get pregnant.”
I stared to those violet eyes and full lips. I placed my hand on her stomach… then promptly blasted her with Conus-level force. She’d fly for a few miles.
“If I were that weak, I would’ve had an orgy of fairies by now,” I called after the flying woman. Someone else spoke from behind.
“Harsh, but effective.” I smiled and turned around to see Teemie in her fully glory—a young woman with long wavy white hair, green eyes, and glowing dragonfly-like wings. “But really, an orgy of fairies?”
“It’s the only example that came to mind,” I said with a shrug. I decided not to bring up the fact that I learned that term from Devante.
“Come, let’s talk for a bit.”
I followed her, wondering of her age, but dared not to ask.
“Have you fully healed?” I said after a minute of silent walking.
“I wasn’t damaged—more like caught off guard by her banishment,” Teemie said.
“It is Karma,” I said. “Kicked our asses and then let me win against her in some crazy scheme for political power.”
“I’m not so sure why the idiots in Paradise Realm often call the Venus clan softies,” I continued.
“No kidding,” Teemie said. “Your girlfriend is number six in the elite. Her mom is Mother Nature, her father Natural Selection, her sister Karma. I wonder if she plans to follow suit.”
“She’s the princess,” I said. “Originally supposed to marry me, thus having a part of the universal throne.”
“True.” Teemie shrugged. “Paradise Realm and their politics.”
The half-fairy, half-angel stopped in front of a strange glowing-gold mansion.
Rainbows surrounded this place but no fairies. The ground changed from a field of flowers to cloud-like, like back in my hometown of Paradise Realm. “I guess now would be a good time to talk about the debt you owe.” I flinched. She laughed. “I’m kidding. I didn’t complete the job, so you owe me just a little less.”
“Are you sure?” I said. “You did get me out of that trial.”
“It still feels half-baked, so I’ll let you off this time, at least for now. You’ll pay in another way.” Gift horse?
She motioned for me to follow her into the mansion. The doors opened on their own and soon I was staring at luxury.
Walls decked with expensive paintings, marbled floors, giant chandeliers, you name it. “We can speak freely in here without worrying about anyone overhearing us. Not even your goddess would be able to see or sense this place without my permission.”
I nodded and followed her to a room with a round table in its center. We sat.
“Alright, what’s the latest from Paradise Realm?” I said to my spy.
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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.
Don't be shy. Give him a wave. A read. And maybe whisper, "waffles," because the man loves his waffles. It's a miracle his keyboard doesn't have maple syrup all over it.
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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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