That evening, we celebrated at some private restaurant Amony owned. I tried to talk her out of it—it was way too fancy for my tastes—but the woman wasn’t hearing any of it. Amelia’s friends were also back in town, present at the dinner too, dressed very well.
Upon return, they did the squealy hug thing, and somehow dragged me into it, ignoring all of my resistance.
We’ve all fought for two months, with an even bigger fight on the horizon. Hopefully this would be the last time I’d have to fight with any heavenly-beings, that is they’re even heavenly-beings. Whomever was behind all this had balls. Taking control of the elite is one thing, but sacrificing a human city. Damn.
Despite this dinner being a “cool-down,” as Amony called it, a flat screen TV on the wall played the news. Humans were baffled by the past two months.
Apparently for the outside world, the city simply vanished. Something unseen prevented anyone from getting within meters of it. One would think after an event like this, angels would be flooding the city but I felt none. The victims within the city refused to talk to the press, many of them simply praising God. I let that be the cover. Last thing I needed was humans surrounding my apartment, waking me up, or forming so stupid cult in my name or pestering my friends. I turned from the TV to see everyone’s eyes on me.
“Are you God?” Layla said. I glared at her.
“Are you an idiot? No,” I said.
“Do you want credit for that?” the pesky girl continued.
“Nope,” I said, then shoved a piece of steak in my mouth.
We were dinning around a large fancy-smancy table. Amelia was seated next to me. Layla sat directly across from me, which was good—the less I get shocked, the better. Amony flipped off the TV.
“I guess I’ll break some of the questions we’re all thinking,” Devante said. “How’d you get so…strong? What kind of power was that?”
“A magician can never tell his secrets,” I quoted. Devante’s blank stare showed no amusement. “To be honest, it’s not really gained strength or power. It’s more like reversing a seal on powers that I already have.”
“You mean to tell me you’re more powerful than—”
“Look,” I said, interrupting Layla, “I know the real question, the one you’re avoiding. Was I really in the depths of Hell? If so, what’s it like? Did I meet Ghost? The answer to all of those is—”
The lights suddenly flickered repeatedly, silencing everyone. I didn’t give a fuck. A sign from above wasn’t going to tell me what to do, especially after what I’ve been through. I opened my mouth to speak again, but the lights flashed on and off, rapidly. My patience vanished. “Whoever or whatever is doing that, you’ve got one warning,” I said. “I will speak my mind and you, unhelpful bastard can’t stop me.”
Something responded, vocally. “It is best that mortals do not hear any details. For if they hear, a curse will dawn upon them and it would your fault.”
I didn’t recognize the voice—a powerful one that sounded from everywhere at the same time. It emitted a heavenly-presence too. And of course, it’s in my mind.
“Who are you?” I thought to the voice. “I’ve got questions that need answering.” No response. “It’s really important.” Nothing. I sighed. So tired of this Gandalf shit. Fine, don’t tell me anything. I’ll go take the information when I get to Paradise Realm.
Just when I decided to write the place off as super-dead to me, the voice spoke again.
“I cannot reveal my identity, however, the answers to your questions are best given to you by the ruler of Universe Yetta. Your Father. Your coming approaches…soon. You must ascend to the throne. No… you will ascend to the throne. Find the corruption in which I cannot see. Clear it or die trying. I feel it is …up to something vastly dangerous. Something that will cease existence as we know it. It worries even the King.” The voice faded before I could respond, enabling real-world sound again to emit to my ears.
I flinched to Amelia’s voice.
“Sorry, apparently I was struck by persistent divine intervention, so sorry guys, for your own good, I can’t tell you about being in the depths unless you want to deal with some super powerful unbreakable curse.”
They looked at me, probably unsure if I joked or not. I let the tension hang in the air as I chomped down on the last piece of my steak.
“Someone spoke with you,” Amelia said. “Any idea who?”
“No idea, but he’s not from our universe,” I said. “Yet knows about the corruption in Paradise Realm. Which means this situation is bigger than I thought. Shit, I’m surprise there isn’t chaos up there.”
“What do you plan to do?” Amony asked.
I shrugged. “Come up with a decent plan to search for them.”
“Can’t your damn father just scan everyone’s heads for the truth?” Elly said.
“Fuck if I know,” I said. “Look, if the corruption fucks can hide from the King, I’m pretty sure they’ve weaseled their way out of every investigation. For now, let’s not worry about that. It’s going to take some time for me to come up with something. In the meantime, we should finish off Sunset while they’re weakened.”
“You’re…absolutely right,” Amony said. “Tomorrow, let’s storm their hideout and end them while we’ve got the chance.”
“Or let Epex blow up the base,” Sin said, gaining everyone’s amused stares. The goody-goody rarely spoke of destruction. “I’m kidding. I get it—blowing up the base is risking the tear.”
“I guess we’ll sit back and continue to be useless,” Keisha said, silencing everyone. I thought on that for a second. Amelia’s friends knew their guns. Wait…guns. A plan began to form in my head, but for a subtler task.
“I don’t think so—you’re not getting out of this,” I said. “Amanda, Keisha, what do you know about submachine guns.”
The two women’s faces lit up. It didn’t matter if you were human, demon, angelic. A bullet could still take you out. That’s my only philosophy. “Bring all of your weapons to me tonight. It’s time for some art class. And you’re my students.”
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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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