Home > One Apocalypse (The Dark Side #4)(12)

One Apocalypse (The Dark Side #4)(12)
Author: Kristy Cunning

“She was trying to level up,” I say on a tired breath, while my anger resurfaces.

“I’m going to kill her,” Jude states with zero emotion, as though he’s too exhausted to put any fury behind the empty threat this time.

Her eyes open at last, and the twins scramble backwards as she smiles over at them.

Even I find the black eyes lined with red cracks creepy. I’ve never seen volcanic eyes before. I’m guessing it’s an Apocalypse thing.

They both streak across the ground, zig-zagging and crossing the distance between her. Paca tracks their motions with only her eyes, her smile never leaving.

Just as they reach her too fast for me to even keep up with, the red lightning strikes down on both of them. Pico’s eyes are the one to widen this time, since that’s his lightning she apparently just stole.

They’re both pounded into the ground with the next burst of lightning, and the storm gets so violent that the stands are forced to raise higher, when more people are jarred over the edge.

They turn to ash the second they breach the one-way barrier.

A weapon of some sort appears in Paca’s hand as she starts walking toward them, the train of her outfit whipping in the wind as she struts like this is now fun again.

I feel better about life, even if I don’t know how the fucking hell I feel about having to endure all of this just for her to reach the next level.

The weapon is a ring with spikes angled on it in, almost resembling a coiled dragon’s tail that’s been forged in a circle.

“Is that a chakram?” Gage asks quietly.

Paca only smiles more as another appears in her free hand. Caesar and Pico struggle to their feet, clutching their middles as though they’re not quite as resilient as she is.

“Now what on earth do these do?” Paca asks as she looks down at her shiny new weapons, her smile getting bigger.

“Hey! Look! I got weapons too!” she calls up to us, waving around the chakrams like they’re toys she wants to show off.

Fire sprays in a line behind their wake, and she startles as though that surprises her. I shake my head, disbelieving this fight has changed so abruptly.

“And they do tricks! I bet we could roast marshmallows with these babies!” Paca says excitedly as she dances around from foot to foot.

“How is anyone supposed to take her seriously?” Jude grumbles on a sigh.

“Most of the crowd seems disturbed and terrified, so I’d say she’s winning if she’s going for fear factor,” Kai points out.

“I can’t see the crowd from my angle,” Jude says through presumably clenched teeth.

“Life was simpler when she was a horny ghost who wanted to be a real girl,” I decide aloud.

“We should have fucked her brains out, spoiled her, and kept her out of Hell,” Gage adds.

Another wand appears in Pico’s hand, and he tries to unleash his power. Only…the lightning strikes him, blowing him back this time.

Paca shakes her head and sighs. “Haven’t you noticed?” she asks him, her tone a little humored and smug at the same time. “I already stole your storm and made it my bitch. You’re next.”

He opens and closes his mouth like he’s confused, which means…

“That’s bloody new,” Lucifer growls.

“Maybe the point of all this was to learn new things,” Lamar says from behind us. “She has her own storms, but stealing another’s is an entirely new form of power.”

I forgot he and Manella were even there. They’ve been silent for the worst of it.

She grins over at Caesar, who visibly pales. “I think it’s my turn now. Let’s try out my new toys and see if they’re better than your fragile ones.”

With both hands, she flings out the chakrams in unison, and they sail toward Pride and Greed, who’ve barely been on their feet long at all.

They try to dodge, but the chakrams follow as though they’ve locked onto their targets.

“That’s new too,” Lamar notes in somewhat awe. “The chakrams didn’t follow targets before.”

“Sucks to be them right now,” Cain says from behind us, though I have no idea when he joined.

“They begged to go last, because Caesar wanted to make her look a fool after she’d been weakened,” Lilith states, though…again…no clue when she returned.

“Serves them right. They forced me to go first,” Hera grumbles.

I suppose they’ve been returning while we’ve been frozen in fucking place. It’s a little unnerving how quiet the hell-spawn has been up until now, as though they’ve been waiting on the real Paca to appear before resuming their commentary.

Flames shoot out in the wake of the chakrams, as they finally catch up to their running targets.

“I bet they wish the arena was bigger right now,” Lilith says around a small laugh.

The first one slams into Pico’s back, and the flames consume him as he screams out in surprise.

“Flames so hot they scorch Pico?” Cain asks, his mouth sounding full of something.

I don’t want to know what.

“That’s new too,” Lamar states quietly.

Caesar screams behind tight lips, too prideful to announce his own pain with the same disgraceful cry his twin released, after the chakram slams into him and his body erupts into flames as well.

The chakrams leave a flame trail behind them as they hurry back to her hands, and Paca effortlessly catches them, as she begins to strut through the sea of roses.

The roses quickly wilt near her feet as she walks through them, rapidly decaying to dead roses, even though they’ve stood up to the heat until now.

A few collective gasps sound from behind us, and Lilith races with Hera to block our view as they lean over the edge.

“What?” I snap, trying to see around them when some of Lucifer’s spell wanes, allowing me to move my head.

“Paca’s decaying roses from Eden. Those roses don’t wilt under any circumstances, and they’ve survived Hell’s heat for centuries, even hellfire,” Lamar tells us in the same awed tone.

“Her fire’s hotter than before?” Cain asks in confusion. “How is that possible?”

My heartbeat thunders in my ears when I finally manage to stand at last, and I hurry to the edge to look down. Jude, Kai, and Gage join me quickly, as we all watch with less apprehension and more desperate intrigue.

The roses continue to wilt, as the twins continue to get pummeled by the chakrams she throws, catches, and throws again.

She does it gracefully, as though it’s all common knowledge.

“Does she remember now?” Lilith asks, leaning forward next to me, her arm brushing mine.

The chakram flies out of Paca’s hand, and it soars straight up, as Wrath’s territorial gaze lands on me.

There’s a shattering sound when it crashes through the invisible barrier, and Lilith squeaks out a sound as it slashes across her arm…that was touching me.

Flames shoot up her arm, and she cries out as her fresh harem hurriedly rush to put out the flames.

“Touch him again, and I’ll remove your head from your shoulders!” Paca threatens as she catches the chakram on its return.

Lilith’s eyes are wide and horrified as she takes a few quick steps away from me, and she nods as though she’s quick to comply. Her arm is singed and smells awful this close.

“It’s really hotter,” Lilith whispers. “Much too hot to even be an unnatural phenomenon. It’s not possible.”

Paca returns to her unrelenting strike on Pico and Caesar, her smile and concentration on her revenge, as she spins and does a few of her own showy moves the way Pride did when she was at their mercy.

“I told them not to take it too far. After all, our dear sister is Wrath,” Manella says around a loud yawn.

Paca catches one of the chakrams behind her back, and she does a side aerial before throwing it again, just in time to catch the other. Her laughter dances on the winds of her hijacked storm that starts shaking the entire stadium harder and harder.

The lightning crashes down on them in stronger and stronger pulses, even as Lucifer once again reseals the hole she tore during her attack on Lilith.

I never felt the heat from the chakram, even though it was right beside me. The fire never even singed the fabric on my clothes, but it burned hell-spawn.

I try to take in the overwhelming information, but it’s hard to take my eyes off Paca while she’s in the zone after the spectacular beat-down she endured earlier.

She starts throwing the chakrams so fast and repeatedly that it’s hard to keep up with until finally—

“Stop the match! You’ll kill them!” Lucifer shouts as the entire stands lean and rattle so hard that more denizens fall over the edges, screaming before they erupt into flames and ash.

Pico whimpers, barely managing to plead, “No more! Please, no more!”

Paca doesn’t let up, even as Lucifer shouts for her to do so once again.

Until Caesar finally screams, “Mercy! Mercy!”

All the fire ceases at once, and Paca’s chakrams disappear from her hands. She makes two guns with her index fingers and thumbs, and blows them.

Smoke actually billows out of both fingers, and she cuts a grin toward him.

“Pride always comes before the fall. I just wanted to see it with my own eyes,” Paca states as the entire place goes eerily silent, allowing her voice to echo around as though the tail has been hollowed out.

Lucifer runs a hand over his face, as Paca laughs and skips in a circle, enjoying watching all their roses decay in her wake.

Pico and Caesar simply roll to their backs, as their charred, almost putrid bodies lie burned to near crisps.

“Someone help them heal,” Lucifer states quietly, almost a ghost of his malevolent self now.

He turns, and in the next second, he disappears from sight.

Lamar eases in beside me, and he clears his throat as though he’s slightly concerned and enamored at the same time.

“Fire so hot she can burn hell-spawn and roses from Eden. Her infamous chakrams that now never miss, no matter the lack of skill. And she’s not even at full power yet,” Lamar states in a hushed tone. “She planned on defeating Jahl. She redesigned herself, and somehow tied it all into a death, as though she genuinely planned it step by step.”

Jude leans over the railing, his entire body strung so tight it looks as though he’d break under any amount of pressure right now.

“I made Pride fall! And I made Greed beg for ‘no more.’ Get it?! You’re supposed to be cheering for me!” she shouts at us.

The silent stadium suddenly erupts into applause and rancorous cheer, as though she was commanding them instead of us.

Paca puts her hands on her hips as she eyes the silent and stoic four of us. She starts tapping her foot impatiently, while we all deny her the celebration she demands.

She’ll take it as permission to do this shit again.

   
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