An Hour Before Epex’s Return…
Devante’s hopeful thoughts has long since diminished. To think two months had passed since the demigod was wrongfully killed.
At first, he felt proud of himself for warping the team back to Secure Corps milliseconds before Epex could bounce them maybe two states away. But now they were trapped in a city controlled by six impossibly strong demons…devils, whatever the fuck they were, cut off from the outside world. If Amony didn’t treat Secure Corps like a second home loaded with supplies, rooms, showers, and a backup power source, they’d be slaves like the people outside.
The people they couldn’t save—not even let in. The pretty attendant at the counter, her coworkers, and the guards weren’t allowed to leave—though many protested. One of them even had kids.
Of course, Sin and Elly leapt on a mission to rescue them, succeeded, but succumb to some injury from some powerful demons in the area. Two months plus lost motivation. Devante didn’t know what to do.
At first, everything seemed as if it would pass over. Beings, Devante believed were gods engaged the demons. He saw the battle from afar. He showed the others the scenes through magic. He even saw the goddess, Amelia, with freaky blood-red hair, engage the devils. She seemed to wipe the floor with them at first. Just as she planned to go crazy with it, her form reversed to normal, and she fell, as if something strained her body. One of the gods caught her and vanished in retreat.
Since then, there had been a hunt by the minions of those six. In the meantime, they drafted a very powerful barrier around the city and made a declaration that pieced into everyone’s minds. An announcement. The city belonged to them and not even the heavens could do anything about it.
Amelia and the gods did resurface again to fight, though she wasn’t in her freaky bloody-haired form. They failed and just barely retreated. The intervals of them showing up were every three days, probably with some new plan.
Devante and the others offered to help, but the gods swiftly refused. Amelia didn’t seem to be in a talking mood, almost out of it, more than likely on the count of her love’s death.
Devante didn’t ask why she seemed to be working with the one who killed him. He guessed there was a truce until the terrible situation blew over. He respected her for putting the safety of the people ahead of her personal problems.
Devante wasn’t completely sure which one of the gods dealt the killing blow—Epex forced them away too quickly, but he knew one of the three did it. He felt it.
The attacks of the group stopped after only a week and a half of complete failure.
The six devils formed a government. They used their demon soldiers to patrol the city, to keep things in line.
Amony’s wards held. Secure Corps glided day by day, undetected thanks to them.
Humans outside—every man, woman, and child caught by the demon soldiers were rounded up and forced to somewhat clean up the wreck city with their bare hands, regardless of the dangers, and powerlines. No breaks.
Of course, this is after the resistance—humans were no pushovers, but the devils overwhelmed them with magic, killing many. The humans may have even won if outside help was possible. After the cleanup, an occurrence of daily horror shows plagued the city, from torture carnivals, to indiscriminate public rapes, to dragging people out of their houses into the streets for humiliation. Devante figured this was common place in Hell.
The demons even forced the slaves to build statues of the six right in the center. Even Sunset was remained quiet.
Devante felt grateful that none of his family members lived in Middleburg. There was no way he’d let his sister or any family stay in a city with constant demon problems. They had no problems taking his advice. His sister had healed since then.
Devante glanced at his quiet team members. No one had answered Amony’s question. Sin, Elly, and the normally lively Layla were silent, tired, and looked as if they’ve given up hope.
Layla hadn’t known Epex as long as the others, but she still didn’t enjoy the loss of life over anyone she knew or worked with. And like the rest of them, she also knew of Epex’s current afterlife.
Devante did his best not to think of his friend’s suffering. He couldn’t get any answers from Amelia or her rag-tag god team. He even tried a prayer. Nothing. What were they doing up there? He knew the insanely powerful barrier made them invisible, almost like being in a separate dimension.
Amony’s question, “What should we do next?” still hung in the air like a lingering odor. No one had any bright ideas, not even Sin. He had only recently recovered from his injuries. Whatever the impossible six did, it slowed down his healing. The food supply was good for another year, maybe even less on count of the extra bodies.
But were they really going to wait that long? Was there no way out of the city? Could it really be time to give up completely?
Devante stood up. All eyes shot to him.
“I’m done with this,” he said. “This air of giving up, it’s just not me. I don’t rely on gods or magical saviors to bail me out of anything. We’re trapped but it isn’t something we cannot get through. I’m sorry but the last thing I’m going to do is sit here…not anymore. Not while I know his afterlife. He’s stuck there going through shit they we cannot imagine. If I can’t break a hole in that barrier, I’ll die trying. Fuck sitting here and waiting to die. People are suffering. I cannot standby anymore—If I do, I’m no better than the six fuckheads doing this our city.”
Devante started for the door, but a hand grabbed him. He turned to see that it was Elly. He also noticed everyone standing up with their game faces.
“That’s what I needed. What we needed,” Sin said. “Don’t go dying by yourself.”
“Thanks for waking us up,” Elly said.
“Just point and I’ll fry,” Layla said. “Then I’ll slap around that stupid goddess and tell her to resurrect her boyfriend so that I can steal him.”
“We go down fighting,” Amony said. “We’re not a helpless, damsel in distress bunch. Let’s blow all of their shit up, headquarters and all. Kill any demon patrols. Then we give it everything we have on the six.”
Devante held up a fist.
“All fists on mine. Let’s do this!”
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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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