When we made it back to the main facility, someone was in our cell, inspecting my deity circle. He was tall, covered in a black cloak, and the presence he emitted was that of a devil. But not just any devil—this enormous height of power could only be royal class. Fuck.
“There won’t be any escape, gentlemen,” the warden said. Guards quickly surrounded us as they poured from doors and the halls. Probably fifty of them. “It’s time for a chat.” He touched the circle and then continued to inspect it. If I could see a face beneath the cloak, I’d probably see curiosity. “Have a seat.” The guards pushed us onto my bed. “I can’t figure this out. I set up that game because I thought this thing here was some kind of holy trap. I changed the rules the moment one of my Goraus told me of this. Killing all of you and then replacing you with more processed goods is just a small precaution.” He looked at me, red eyes glowing through the cloak. “A runner, a demigod, and the creator is this unknown rune here. If you were willing to make this in blood with some much detail, then it must be big. Soooo, no need to hold back. Spill it already.”
“Sure thing,” I said and then activated it with a thought. The warden howled as he fell to his knees, fully on the circle.
“Don’t move or he dies,” Mack said to the guards.
“We were about to kill him while we had the chance anyway.”
The warden laughed but stopped upon realizing the intensity of the trapper. And probably the fact that no matter how much he tried, he couldn’t move. I pre-set it to hyper-absorb as much power from its victim as possible. I didn’t expect the warden’s paranoia to work in my favor.
“Guards, tell the female demons in his sex dungeon to cause chaos. Also, who was the snitch.”
“The one with the accent,” one of them said. “But he’s off doing some tasks.”
“Should’ve known he’d be the one to cause me trouble,” I said. “Kill him while you’re at it. Soon, this place will blow up. You may want to run.”
“Are you sure we can’t kill him,” a Goraus said. “When the news spread that a royal devil was killed by lessers like us, it will make them all look bad.”
An intense red aura oozed off the warden. He growled, “you fucked up, believing something like this could hold me. I will kill you all, torture you forever, and hire new guards.”
The guards took that as a sign to run.
“Hope you die in the explosion, you fucker,” one of them shouted back. In seconds, they were gone, down the hall. There’s no honor among demons.
“This is impressive,” Mack said, intrigued look on his face.
“It once held Conus,” I said. “With the changes, I set it to absorb and explode. So yeah, pretty sure this isn’t something we should stick around to see if we could ride out. I’m unsure—”
“Miliana! Mili! Come eat! Eat them all. The traitorous Goraus too!”
Fearing the worse, Mack and I ran for it, following the guards. I wasn’t sure if the deity-trapper was ready, but as soon as we about halfway through the main processing area, I willed it to explode.
The entire place shook and rattled but somehow held together. It was tough to keep my balance, but I ran and ran…and ran… until we were finally out of the building. It looked like a giant red stone fortress. The guards were either teleporting or flying off.
“Hey, can we get a ride,” I shouted to them. They ignored me. “Ungrateful bastards.”
“Did you figure out that the guards were slaves too?” Mack said.
“Honestly, it was more of a guess—they could’ve just killed us,” I said. “This also wasn’t the original plan but I improvised on the warden’s paranoia—”
Miliana flung out of the air, hopped onto Mack’s back, and began chomping down on him. He yelled, blasting at her, unsuccessful at getting the creature off him. I released wave after wave of force to no avail. Was there no way to killing this thing?
I tried to pull her off, but she chewed chunks and chunks of his shoulder, eating and laughing.
“There’s no hope for me, Epex. Just go,” Mack said. “I’ll respawn in a hopefully ruined torture chamber.”
Shit. Powerless again… I need power. Why should I take this abuse again? Even if I were to run, that thing would catch me in an instant. Where could I go in the depths of Hell? This is it…another impossibility of this place.
A doom. I need power.
I need power. I need power.
You need power…
I flinched. This was my voice. My thoughts. I said that…right?
Then I saw a brief flashback…The power I gained from self-falling. No, no, I couldn’t possibly fuck with that. Mack let out a yell. Fine, whatever it takes to kill this thing. I reached inside and pulled on the locks, all while thinking of the things I hated, the people who tossed me into the depths.
You don’t understand. You must want this. You must want to stay this way. It shouldn’t be temporarily. You have no idea what you really are, do you? One cannot just self-fall.
The rage struck as I saw the demon continue to chomp down on the blue man. I didn’t have time to listen to lectures from myself.
“Fuck you,” I whispered to it. “no one tells me what do to do. Fuck you!”
I pulled that power out, enraged, ready to kill any and everything. I pulled and pulled and then let it expand. I felt the wings instantly grow out of my back. Black light outlined me in thick waves. Two fangs grew in my mouth or maybe two of my teeth changed shape. The light isn’t purple. So, fuck what Conus says—it’s not a self-fall.
There’s no such thing. I bellowed out a roar or maybe a battle cry—I don’t know. The demon brat stopped chomping on the screaming Mack and looked up, bloody maniacal grin on her face. I don’t condone killing kids. But creatures, devourers. That’s different. I flapped my wings and took flight, somehow knowing all the mechanics of flying, despite never doing so before.
The demon girl yelled, “ooh birdie, chicken, delicious. I want to taste.”
I grinned back.
“I don’t think so, you freaking brat. Taste this.”
Using both hands, I conjured up a huge bolt of tar-colored lightning. If one could call it that.
The demon girl bounced around, jumping for me at with no success. She…then did the unthinkable.
She picked up Mack with one hand and tossed him right into the lightning bolt right as I threw it. The blue man was already out of his mind—but now…well, I incinerated him. I didn’t know the guy, had no sentimental feelings, but no one deserved an end like that. I wasn’t sure the warden kept his torture chamber, but I’d destroy the fortress before leaving.
“Birdie, birdie! Chicky, tasty!”
“You!” I roared, becoming angrier, hurling more bolts at the kid.
The demon girl tele-dodged them all, then teleported right in front of me. I barely dodged the grab, swerving to the left.
I kept moving, staying out of her reach and beyond her touch. My ploy didn’t last long. She raised a finger into the sky, swirling it three times.
I looked up to see black clouds forming in the bloody red sky. Lightning dropped from them in random intervals, but ultimately getting closer to me. I barely dodged three bolts. “Shit, just what is that kid?”
“She’s of the royal class of course,” someone said. I frowned as I saw the warden walk out of the building. “Believe it or not, I serve her, though most fools believe it is the other way around.”
My eyes widened. No freaking wonder why she’s virtually impossible to beat. I wasn’t too eager in tangling with royals in the first place, especially on their own turf. That’s why I wanted to at least contain the warden…but…he’s not a royal. Which meant...
“This entire infinite prison ordeal is just a trap to feed her,” I said. “Which means…they don’t respawn.”
The warden laughed.
“The torture chamber is inside her belly. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said escape is impossible.”
I dodged a lightning bolt, though the heat of it felt like hellfire. I clench my teeth to keep from yelling.
“You two are a sick pair,” I said, “but I guess I should expect nothing less of devils. Even your guards wanted you dead.”
“Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me to hunt the traitors down. Once Mistress Mili finishes with you, I’ll get on that.”
“Pedophilia doesn’t seem to be out of your grasps, huh, you sick fuck,” I said.
“That child-like form is nothing more than Mistress’s joke,” he said. “Why should she take any of you weaklings seriously? And you should respect your elders, boy. She’s among the seven sins”
I didn’t like the sound of that. The demon girl was just bad news—way, way out of my league. Hell, I knew I couldn’t take on the normal royal class, not right now, even with this form. The anger boiling within continued to fuel it. But staying here would turn it to hopelessness. Well, there’s a simple solution to getting out of this.
“Yeah, I’m just going to stay out of this. The guards went that way,” I pointed at a random direction, then with all of my strength, launched into the air and flew in the opposite direction, moving at a speed that the gluttonous runt wouldn’t catch.
One thing I needed to learn was to never count my chickens before they hatched. A human saying. Oh how accurate.
The giant bolt of lightning knocked me out of the sky—and in addition to the pain, I reverted to my normal, good ole weakened self.
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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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