During the Fight for the City…
Sin rushed ahead of Devante. His silver sword sang as it sliced demon after demon. Small fry. He didn’t have time to deal with these bloats. They were nothing to him, just mindless shrimps. His friends weren’t standing around though. They extinguished wave after wave, fighting to keep up with him.
Speed was Sin’s friend, though if he had to be honest, the sword he held was asleep. If he was on good terms with his father, maybe he’d be able to access Nova. Now that beauty could wipe the floor with the royals. One of the seven swords of wonder, Nova was his father’s bread and butter.
Another cluster of presences hiked into Sin’s senses. A third party… but who? It certainly wasn’t the heavenly-being group, though he felt their immobility somewhere in the city. Amelia still hadn’t recovered.
“Amony, do you feel that?” Sin said. She nodded.
“Our targets have grown tired of losing money.”
“Kill them if they get in your way but focus on the royal devils,” Devante said. “We need to free the city. Sunset’s gang will just make this easier.”
Sin doubled his efforts, cutting down patrols on the streets, leading the group to the largest and tallest building in the city. Even with Sunset joining in the battle, chances of failure were still high. Royal-class devils were in the depths for a reason. Well, multiple reasons, but causing trouble amongst the most powerful beings in charge being the main.
It was when the group got within forty yards of the government building that a royal appeared. He was a tall man with long orange-white hair, yellow eyes, and an ever-presence smile on his face. Sin knew him—a member of the royal family and of Lucifer’s circle. Prothimas.
Sin was surprised that anger flooded through him. If anything, he was thankful to have been banished to the human world. Still, the devils did nothing but mourn for his father’s power. They tried everything to get into his family—even through marriage. Sin would rather die than let a female devil so much as touch him. This kind of distaste is why he didn’t classify himself as either devil, demi-devil, or, hell anything. His father hid something from him, but Sin supposed given the time gap of not having gone back since he was ten, none of that mattered anymore.
“I see recognition in your eyes,” Amony said, placing her hand on his arm. Her touch relaxed him, brought him back to his senses.
He allowed her scent of roses and nature to envelop him. They weren’t in a traditional relationship, but he belonged to her and her to him and they’d use each other.
“Yeah, I know him,” Sin said, gripping his sword tighter. “Prothimas is one of the biggest pricks I’ve ever known.” Sin forced away the nervousness that crept onto him. Should he tell his friends to retreat after they finally mustered the will to take back the city.
“What else?” Amony said. “I know you. Nothing will make you this nervous unless it’s really—”
“He could mop the floor with us,” Sin said. “He’s also a wielder of hellfire. If he uses it, we’ve wounded his pride enough for him to take us seriously.”
Prothimas looked at Sin, recognition glittering into his eyes. Then he spoke with a smooth and mocking voice.
“I thought I recognized you,” he said. “This really is a small world, small coincidence, and maybe a victory. When I kill you, I’ll make sure to chain you to my personal torture chamber. Will be fun for an eternity.”
Sin glowered. He took some steps toward the devil, sword at the ready, cautious.
“Ex-prince, I was sure you were better than that,” he said.
The royal moved toward Sin, only to stop when multiples instances of purple energy balls crashed into him. The last one almost made him move.
“Move it, Sin,” Elly said. “This fucker underestimates us.”
“That kind of stung,” Prothimas said. “Feisty and from the smell of you, untouched. An unplowed succubus, now that’s worth snatching.”
“Are all demons rapey like this?” Devante said as he aimed a palm at the royal.
“Most,” Sin replied, shaking his head. “Even the females.”
A giant beam of energy that looked like a cross between a death ray, lightning, and a rainbow blasted from Devante’s hand and pushed the royal ten yards away.
Sin was disappointed to see that the devil remained on his feet, brushing off such a powerful burst of magic. Prothimas laughed, but it cut off when a boulder the size of a house fell out of the sky and crushed him.
“That should do,” Amony said.
“I’ll make sure he’s dead,” Layla said, sucked in a breath, and then aimed her hands at the boulder. Time and space distorted around the boulder. Seconds later, a geyser of light shot from the sky, cooking the boulder and the devil beneath it.
“Damn,” Sin said, “am I even needed?”
Devante placed his hand on Sin’s shoulder. “
We all know you’re the strongest and fastest here, but we’re not going to sit back while he plays with your mind. You—”
The boulder burst into pieces, revealing an angry royal-class devil.
Before the group could react, he blurred to Layla, and delivered a punch that propelled the poor girl at least twenty yards away. She didn’t get back up.
“Shit, Elly Protect her,” Amony said. “The demons are going for her.”
Sin engaged Prothimas before the devil could make his next move, but he didn’t seem very interested in fighting anymore. He turned intangible, grabbed Sin, and then slammed him onto the painful concrete, knocking the wind from his throat.
The demi-devil nearly blacked out, but a yell from Amony snapped him back into really. He smelled blood. A lot of it. He looked up to see an injured Devante, protecting Amony, but he wasn’t the one covered in blood.
Reason left Sin as rage took over. A lot of rage. Pent-up anger, repressed hatred. His eyes glowed a raging red—he blurred over to the royal and with claws of glowing red essence he never had before, plunged them through the surprised devil’s heart.
`Prothimas wasn’t done yet. He gurgled, but remained standing, though stepping backwards a few times.
“It’s time I put a prick like you in his place,” Sin said softly. He swung his sword, intending to finish off Prothimas. A finger blocked it. Prothimas wounds sealed as he stepped back.
The newcomer made Sin widen his eyes, recognition in them. She didn’t come alone. There were three royal devils staring down Sin’s group now.
Judging by the sound of battle, he assumed the other three battled the Drifter and his minions. He felt something…somehow someone on the Sunset side punched a hole through the barrier and even held it open. Too bad Sin and his group wouldn’t see the light of day nor the outside world.
“Your father should’ve just allowed you to marry me,” the devil woman before him said. Her red eyes made his blood cold. She looked at Amony then back Sin. “Choosing a skanky witch over me? That makes me angry, you know.” She grinned.
“Who is she?” Devante said softly.
“Envy,” Sin said. “Devante, can you get us out of here?”
Envy wagged her finger.
“You won’t be going anywhere. Besides, your friends here will make great playmates. It’s been a while since I did some good and relaxing torture—”
Sin arced his blade upwards, hoping to catch the devil off guard, but she simply blocked his sword again with the same finger. It felt like hitting solid steel.
“Sorry,” he said to the others, his voice barely a whisper. “I didn’t count on any of the seven sins being present.”
“Of course, you didn’t, I hid half of my presence. Of course, the barrier keeps the gods from snooping around too.” Envy placed a hand on Sin’s face. “I want that power your father’s hiding, so you will tell him to wed us or I’ll chop all of your friends into pieces and feed them to you.”
“Enough of the idle threats,” the man beside envy said. “I’m going to start killing. I do not have time for your power games.”
Sin tried to move, but Envy blocked him.
“Do not ignore me, future husband, future ticket to power.”
Everything seemed to be falling apart before they could take off. Sin couldn’t help but feel responsible. Was there anything that could be done? His friends didn’t deserve to die like this. Amony’s yelp of agony made him flinch. Devante’s yell came next, followed by Elly and Layla. They were really going to die here. Sin and his friends just were not strong enough to take on these forces.
At that moment, Envy dropped to the ground, eyes rolling to the back of her head, dead.
Sin saw a blur converge on the man who was attacking the others. A half-second later, he fell to the ground, a gurgling mouth of blood, a hole in his chest. Prothimas met the same fate as the mysterious blur wasted all of the demons around without stopping, then sliced off the royal demon’s head. His neck sprayed a bloody fountain as his body dropped.
Sin’s eyes widened when the blur stopped. He couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t be, yet he stopped a few feet in front of them, eyes observing the soundings and then rested on them. Sin’s mouth hung agape as he stared at his friend. His friend that died two months ago. He…wore the same clothes, but something was different about him. His presence…his essence, his demeaner. He gave off the vibe of a veteran soldier who’s seen everything.
Epex nodded, the frightening blue glow in his eyes fading, though his face still remained neutral.
Suddenly, his friend vanished. Was that really him? Sin needed answers and now! He looked at the dead demons and devils around—a crazy carnage of corpses everywhere then ran.
As he dashed toward the other half of the battlefield, he felt approaching heavenly presences. It seemed like Amelia and her team finally joined the battle. Or maybe came to investigate this new presence.
Sin knew the goddess hadn’t recovered—yet she’d stupidly risked coming out here to a battlefield as deadly as this. How would the entity that looked like Epex react to seeing her work with his killer? Maybe he’d know it was some kind of temporary truce which failed. If that was really Epex, where did he get that kind of power? How wass he alive? Sin needed to confirm that he wasn’t going insane.
When Sin caught up to the scene, he only saw bodies. Dead devil and demon bodies. He sensed the retreat of the Drifter and someone else, maybe Agnes, but for some reason, Epex didn’t bother chasing them. Amelia and two heavenly-beings stared at him, wonder in their expressions or perhaps disbelief.
Epex raised a hand, high into the air. Fiery light briefly flashed around him then he unleashed a mega-beam at the sky. The barrier shattered. He spoke, his voice soft, smooth, and best of all: his.
“Universe, I have a request. Restore this city, wipe the memories of this event from all humans, bring back those who died unfairly starting from the day the balance snapped. Fix everyone inside the city except the demons and devils. I know I’m not my father, but please hear my voice. Grant me this one request.” His hand shimmered repeatedly them a blast of light that briefly covered everything. “It seems the universe will not erase the memories of whatever happened simply because I do not have full authority. But it’s agreeing to carry on with the rest of my request. Amelia, you and those gods will have to do the memory thing if you can.”
Sin watched as the buildings instantly repaired themselves. The shattered glass, the giant cracks in the roads, the downed powerlines…. the destruction simply repaired itself. Humans were also coming back to life or healing. He gazed at his friend, who just performed some kind of miracle.
“I won’t be able to do this again,” Epex said. “So we’ll have to put in some kind of defense. Prevent this from happening again.”
“It’s really you, isn’t it, you son of a bitch,” Sin said and then laughed. He walked over to his friend and offered a hand. Epex accepted the handshake. “Good to see you again.”
“Indeed. I was afraid for a second that you were going to get all touchy huggy on me.”
“I considered it,” Sin said, “but here she comes.” He moved as Amelia nearly tackled Epex to the ground, a hug that looked tight enough to make even a bear cringe. He tuned out her words and tears, to look at the other three heavenly-beings.
Who was it? Why didn’t Epex use his newfound power to take the murderer out. He dropped the thoughts, tired.
“I’m going back to check on the others,” Sin said. “You’ve got a long story to tell us. We’ll have drinks brought in—I suspect you’ll need one, my friend.”
“You don’t know the half of it. Here.” He handed Sin a letter. “From your father.”
Everyone grew silent. Sin’s eyes widened as he excepted it. “He also wanted you to explain something swords interrupting reality or something.”
“We’ve got a long discussion.”
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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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