Amony gathered the group, her spirits visibly high. The slightly disheveled hair, Sin’s too, gave me all the information I didn’t want to know.
I made sure to sit as far away from the new girl as possible. The vibe she radiated just wouldn’t go away.
“I’d like to introduce you to your newest member, Layla,” Amony said. “She’s a distorter.”
My eyes widened. I looked at Amony. The witch beamed at me.
“Look, I’m no tree hugger,” I said, “but you know the second Paradise Realm finds out about her, she’s dead and probably anyone that associates with her. Mother Nature herself hates distorters more than the humans that pollute her waters.”
A hand caressed my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, I’m skilled enough to heal nature with each spell not harm it.”
I looked to see the girl, right beside me. That made me flinch and then pull away my arm. Something fucking hurt, like the worst kind of static electricity.
Everyone stared at me.
“That fucking hu—stay out of my personal space,” I said.
“Ah, he’s so cute, Amony can I keep him.”
The distorter playfully grabbed my arm again, hugging it tightly. Pain erupted.
Unable to control some kind of instinct within, the warmth of heavenly light outlined me. I raised the girl into the air with force.
“There are lines you don’t cross, distorter,” I said, voice calm but dripping with venom. “Touch me again and I’ll fucking kill you.” I let her drop. “How distasteful.”
I let the freak of nature drop to the table.
“Epex what the hell’s gotten into you?” Amony snarled.
“It’s not his fault,” Layla said, surprising everyone. “If I would’ve known he was a heavenly being, I wouldn’t I played around with him like that.”
“What do you mean?” Amony said. She looked as if she knew the answer already judging by the lack of surprise in her voice.
I sat back down, uncaring, but a little wary. Why did I react like that?
“The instinct is as ancient as time itself, engraved in them,” Layla said, still lying on the table, cheerfulness in her tone. “Distorters warp reality. Back then when morals were a joke, distorters were a huge threat to the planet. The gods almost wiped them all out.” She climbed off the table and for the love of all fuck, sat next to me.
“Why the fuck are you tempting fate by sitting next to him?” Elly said. “If you’re going to be an annoying fly, then do that somewhere else.”
“Because we’re a team now,” Layla replied then looked me in the eye. “I’m not going anywhere. Control and dissolve the instinct and we’ll be fine, demigod.”
I gazed into the brown eyes for a few seconds then said, “don’t go triggering it. I’m not one to just go around attacking people.” I scooted my chair away from her but she only moved closer, bringing the vibes with her. We had ourselves a mischievous weirdo here. “If your human boyfriend comes crashing through the window to fight me, I will kick his ass.”
She glowered at me.
“All of my relationships flop. No one will stay with a distorter. We have like the worst luck.” She stuck out her tongue.
Amony shook her, probably tired of this.
“Like her not, we need her,” she said.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you’re right,” Elly said. “She took out a shit load of dust-devils with just a thought. Badass.” She offered a hand. “Thanks for saving our asses and welcome to the team.”
Layla beamed, accepting that hand with both of hers.
“Glad to be here,” she said. “You’re a lot nicer than mister table-thrower over here. So rough with women.” She let go of Elly’s hand. “I bet he’ll never pick up a woman—which means I’m not the only one stuck single. Yay.”
“He’s dating a goddess,” Elly said as she rolled her eyes.
“A real goddess? I call bullshit,” Layla said looking at me. “He’s half-human. Looks alone won’t seduce a goddess.”
“It’s true,” I said, feeling smug. I could’ve used this moment to throw Elly under the bus, but the ‘don’t you dare’ look she gave me, thwarted that idea. Everyone introduced themselves and then got explained the plan. At the end, Amony dropped the bomb.
“In three days, we’ll be going after them, so make sure you start making preparations now.”
That night Amelia and I feasted on a delicious Japanese-style dinner she prepared, which consisted of rice, miso-soup, fish, vegetables, and fried shrimp. I explained the latest shenanigans from work. The goddess wasn’t surprised about the movement. Like me, she also didn’t like the idea of being around a distorter.
For once, the goddess didn’t torture my hormones that night.
“Epex, let’s talk college.” Emerald-green eyes peered at me.
“We’ve had this conversation before,” I said.
“There’s something I want you to investigate,” she continued, “but you’re going to have to apply this fall to do so.”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “You’re already a student. It’s your investigation.”
Amelia rolled over until she was snuggled into my chest. The softness of her skin…. Alright, I get it, I’ve been sexually energetic lately. Or is it repressed. You try sharing a bed with a goddess, unable to do anything because of her values. I can only respect them.
Her presence prevents me from considering, “making the first move.” The human side of me can’t get all “rapey.” The rational side of me don’t want to end up as ashes in someone’s cigarette tray. This didn’t count the kissing, as it’s the purest expression of love. But anything that crossed the sexual threshold is a big waste of time. And here I counted my chickens too early.
“You should have some kind of backup plan in case the witch’s company goes down,” she continued. “At least look at the available things you could study in. I’ve had a conversation with the witch and she’s prepared to get you a full ride scholarship.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “With the hunters and all.”
“Don’t worry about them.”
“What’s this thing you want me to investigate?”
Amelia looked up at me. “We need to find out all why the school’s a hotspot for demonic energy. My presence would frighten any leads, but if you did it, we could finally prevent what happened with Simon from occurring ever again.”
I nodded, realizing she had a point.
“Alright, I’ll go undercover as a student with Amony’s full ride.”
“I’ll take you to an advisor in the morning.”
“Do we have to pretend like we don’t know each other?” I said to her, jokingly.
She gave mean a blank look.
“Thinking about taking advantage of those fragile human hearts eh? Well I won’t be having that. I’ll be all over you like a girl in heat.”
I chuckled, kissed Amelia, and then closed my eyes to drift off to sleep. I trained with Mom for a few hours to get a grip on state two, at least a little.
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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 (It's a joke. These are among my favorite authors) , 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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