I frantically got up. If that brat jumped on me, it would be over. Devoured. Done.
My mind reeled with the fact that she was one of the seven sins…Gluttony. Fuck.
I didn’t have time to deal with this.
The warden appeared from seemingly nowhere, a few meters in front of me.
“You’re lucky that she didn’t want to personally retrieve you,” he said. “You’re a pain in the ass, forcing me to exhibit effort. To rebuild my prison. I’m going to fuck you up, Paradise Realm brat. Then I’ll feed you to my mistress, piece by piece.”
I took a fighting stance and focused on the warden. I was no longer sure if he was royal class or not, but he still had a very powerful presence. I could become lost here...But I’d make this bastard worked for it—going down without a bloody fight wasn’t an option.
The warden let his vicious red aura from before, surround him in a very thick outline.
I didn’t wait for the devil to attack. I rushed him with a hard punch and three blasts of force. The attacks connected, but had visible no effect.
He lurched into action, face still invisible beneath the cloak. I blocked two punches and a kick then countered with returning jab.
The warden blocked it with his own martial arts. I wasn’t sure what about his fighting style. His forms looked very close to Muay Thai.
Amelia taught me a lot, but sometimes relying on the forms against powerful supernatural entities was a bad thing.
The fact that he decided to fight this was way indicated the bastard toyed with me. I didn’t have time to waste.
If the demon brat grew impatient, she’d appear. I wonder… I knew there was no sun, but could I still use my solar powers?
The warden smashed a fist into my face that sent me spiraling to the ground. I focused and forced myself not to gaze at the stars. Sure enough, I was able to give myself a solar outline. It had the same strength as when I fought the elite—which wasn’t strong at all, due to the lack of daylight.
The warden gunned to finish me off. I took slight notice of a fist coated in his blood-red light.
When he got close enough, I fired six solar energy balls out of my palms.
Something interesting happened.
He howled and hopped backward. I jumped up and lurched toward him. Well, the fucker was faster. He backhanded the shit out of me—I was pretty sure I flew at least fifty yards. The land skid just inches in front of a wall of fire.
Before I could do anything, the devilish warden was right in front of me. A knee to the gut later, I collapse to the ground. He picked me up with a single hand.
“I guess that’s that,” he said with smugness in his voice. I laughed.
“No motherfucker, you haven’t won.” I blasted him with as much solar energy as possible. He dropped me as he held his face to bellow out a yell. It’s thanks to the solar shield that I was even able to move right now.
I hopped back to the fray, throwing a punch. The devil went intangible for second, allowing my blow to faze right through him.
“Pain isn’t enough to make me drop my defenses mortal,” the warden said then hurled a punch.
I blocked it then countered. So, did he.
We probably looked like one of those televised Kung Fu fights as we went back and forth, punch, kick, dodge, counter, so on.
I knew he was simply buying time. He seemed to be the type of sick fuck to get off on feeding people to endless gluttons.
Just when I thought all hope was lost, I spotted an opening. I fired as much solar energy as possible into his face. The crimson aura swirled around him wildly as the warden yelled. His yell turned into laughter.
“I’m done pretending to fight on your level, weakling.”
He pulled off the cloak, revealing a clean-shaven man with Asian features, red eyes, and a bald head. A tattoo of a horned demon decorated half of his face and head. It glowed.
His build spasmed from average to buff. It actually looked painful. Black and red bat-like wings flung open. His grin revealed a TV vampire’s smile. The cloak dissolved into the ground, as if merging with the environment. “Ah, that’s better. No one’s around to think I’m taking you seriously.”
First there was a blur. Then I found felt a sensation of…flying…for minutes. Some pain too. The hard hit that led me back-first onto the rocky surface snapped me out of it.
Okay, so the warden’s all about brute strength while his brat boss is...wait.
Hold the fuck. I sat up, contemplating something.
How did I make lightning? If that was lightning. I knew I risked it changing into…holy shit…Realization struck for the first time.
Ignoring the footsteps of the approaching warden, I went over impossibilities in my head. This wasn’t good. Was I turning into a Fallen? No…I’m pretty sure I’d actually have to fall through dimensions first. And of course, the falling itself would be decided by the universe.
What was going on? From flying to shooting lightning.
I probed my memories as quickly as possible, searching for a clue to shaping the essence into something deadly enough to incinerate the warden.
Heat. Extreme heat that burned at my soul…. A pain worse than anything covered me. It threatened to suffocate me. Burned, badly. I let out a yell.
As my vision came back to me second later, I noticed the warden about a few yards away, aiming his right palm at me.
“You truly do not realize the danger you’re in,” he said. “You won’t survive that again.”
“Hellfire,” I said softly as I stood up, realizing again that I’m fucked. “You piece of shit.”
The warden snorted then aimed his palm at me again.
When it started to glow, I lurched into action—just dodging the ball of purplish fire in time. Shit, I already knew he was strong but Hellfire’s a danger to even the essence that make up a soul.
One more hit from that and I’d be lost.
Shit. I couldn’t escape, I couldn’t win.
No, dumbass, don’t think like this… How the hell is charging up a powerhouse attack like that so fast. My thoughts rampaged.
That’s when it me… Something I’ve never tried. Never thought of trying. The risk was extremely high but the heavenly half of me should be able to purify it.
I focused. Just like I did with left over angelic essence that lingered in the chapels, I took in the demonic energy that plagued this place in waves. It felt dirty lava, but it did purify. Just barely. And it came at a price—pain for power.
With a full tank for the first time, I dug deep with myself and forced open lock two. Power exploded around me as I felt the changes. The warden even stopped, mouth agape.
I opened a pocket dimension and took out Daniel’s red sword. It wasn’t Ruin but would do.
The warden no longer looked sure of himself. He also didn’t sound it when he spoke.
“What the hell are you? You’re a soul, right? I didn’t notice until now, but you have no chain.”
I bored him down with a full glare. Glowing blue eyes and all then after a few seconds, replied.
“How long will you last?”
“You cocky piece of shit,” the warden snapped, rushing me, his pride wound bleeding exactly how I wanted it.
I bounded his boots to the stony ground and watched as a powerful and prideful warden fell face first. Before he could do anything else, I plunged the elite’s sword right through the devil’s neck. I followed up several times until the glow from his eyes faded.
The warden was no more. Damn did it feel good to win for once. I wasn’t stupid enough to stick around for the kid to return.
Sure, I needed directions to the city, but…I froze when I noticed her. Despite getting at least three miles away from the scene, she still caught up to me.
“I like you,” she said. “To think that the tastiest treats I’d ever have would be my own guards.” She paused for a second, licked the blood off her lips then continued. I glared in defiance. “I can take you to the city. In exchange…for that sword. I want to lick the rest of the blood off it.”
My eyes widened.
“I won’t trust a devil,” I said.
The brat laughed.
“No need to worry. You know how we love equivalent exchange. That sword is very valuable. And you need to get to the city. Of course, this isn’t a choice. And I’m as good as my word.”
I thought for a moment then decided the sword wasn’t worth it. Yep, that easily.
She teleported right in front of me, eager look on her face and then…aged, her clothes expanding to fit her.
The devil looked twenty human years now. I handed over the sword. She grinned and did exactly as she said. The disgusting twit licked all of the blood with a tongue elongated at will.
“You held up your bargain, I hold mine. Follow me. We’ve got just a short way to go.”
“We’re not going to just teleport there?” I said.
“Teleport? Oh you mean jump,” the devil woman said. “Nope. No fun in that and a waste of essence. I want to smell your fear a little longer.”
“Why are you helping me?” I asked as we started in a southern direction.
“Don’t get the wrong idea, weakling,” she responded. “I wanted this sword. If I simply gunned for your life, you’d probably rip open space and throw it inside before I finished gutting you.” She smiled as if that was a happy thought. I kept a huge gap between us, trying my best to ignore the fact that the devil girl watched the entire fight.
She radiated an aura that I couldn’t see, even in this state. I considered releasing the lock, but decided against it. I needed to be ready just in case she tried anything.
This felt like being a prisoner, but I’d let her continue to disguise it as fulfilling an obligation. “A heavenly-being’s sword will make it so much easier to get power among the other royals. Force them to make truces or even take land. You have no idea how happy you’ve made me.” She looked at me. “I’m dropping you off and then you’re on your own. I’ve got plotting.”
She shrunk back to the kid form, hummed some tune, while balancing the sword on top of her finger.
That red sword…It definitely had a vibe to it. Daniel demanded it back urgently. Poor idiot forgot to get it back before his leader killed me.
I glanced at the sword again. To get even one of the seven sins to make a deal with me just to possess it—that thing was no joke. And I handed it over to the enemy. Damn. But what could I do? Fuck it. Since the bastards threw me down here, they’d deal with this problem. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
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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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