Home > One Apocalypse (The Dark Side #4)(10)

One Apocalypse (The Dark Side #4)(10)
Author: Kristy Cunning

More guards race out to start picking up the bouquets of roses, as Paca skips around in a circle, the last of the gray poison burning away from her body like it was never there.

She could have done that all along.

Groaning, I run a hand over my face, shaking my head at the same time, as I stare down at the most vicious woman we ever could have attached ourselves to.

“What’d you four do to piss her off this time?” Manella drawls from behind us, as though this is all our fault.

I don’t plan on answering.

Ezekiel, however, mumbles, “We don’t fucking know.”

“We should have bought roses,” Kai says on a frustrated sigh.

“The damn roses have nothing to do with it. She was pissed about something before this,” Gage snaps.

“She’s been keeping secrets. That means she thinks we’re keeping secrets,” I state flatly, eyes leveling Paca.

I feel the rest of my quad’s stares fall on me as though they think I’m supposed to have more information instead of an educated guess.

Manella siphons below before anyone can say more, and a sword attached to a chain appears in his hand.

Lamar stands and twirls his hand. A portal opens behind Manella, and roses start pouring out of it, landing on the ground behind him.

“Great. Even he knew to bring roses. Paca’s only going to be more pissed by the time this thing ends,” Kai groans, palming his face.

I’m grateful only our lower bodies seem to be stuck in place.

“Could you take this a little more seriously?” I growl, glaring over at him.

When I turn back around, Paca is staring at the roses. She puts her hands on her hips and cuts a glare toward the four of us, arching an eyebrow as if to say, “You guys are the worst boyfriends ever.”

I swear…the things she gets hung up on…

Manella looks bored as he examines his nails.

“Hit me,” Paca says when the boring battle never begins.

“I’ll pass,” Manella calls back around a yawn as he stretches.

Paca narrows her eyes. “Make a move, Sloth.”

“Too much trouble,” he murmurs as he lies down on the ground, getting comfortable as he puts the chained sword on his stomach.

“Are you going to bore me to death to win?” Paca asks as she studies her unimpressive sibling.

“My strategy has been unveiled. Whatever will I do now?” Manella fires back in a dry, uninterested tone.

“Suit yourself,” she says as she smirks.

There’s a visible ripple in the air, and a steady static hums somewhere below us, as flames shoot free from her body, racing toward Manella.

Time seems to slow, and we watch in confusion as the flames inch toward Manella, whose eyes are closed.

The chain on the sword comes to life, stabbing into the ground. It pops up under one of the flames, just as four more chains shoot up from the ground under the other flames. As soon as the chains begin spinning as though they’re creating a cyclone, it sucks in the flames and extinguishes them.

Time resumes, and Paca stumbles forward a step, eyes wide.

“What was that?” I ask Lucifer.

“Manella has the ability to slow down time, because Sloth takes things at a slower pace,” he states on a sigh. “He could be one of my most powerful children…if he wasn’t so lazy.”

He pats the skull’s head, even as his eyes stay trained on Paca.

Paca hurls more flames, and just like before, time slows, the chain stabs into the ground and seemingly multiply when several strands pop back out. Once again, they suck the fire into small cyclones.

After that, Manella yawns, reaches into his pocket, and pulls out a small white flag that he waves.

“I concede. You win,” he tells her.

Her eyes widen, but he siphons out. I turn around just as he lands back in his seat, leaning his head over on Lamar’s shoulder.

“Wake me if it gets interesting,” he tells Lamar, who pats his head like he’s done something special.

“He really should have been made with more pride,” one of the twins says as he wrinkles his nose in disappointment.

“Get your ass back down here and fight me, Manella!” Paca shouts.

“No thanks. Too tired,” Manella murmurs sleepily…before he starts snoring.


As the roses get cleaned up, Lilith appears below, smirking as she holds up her fingernails like she’s trying to show off her purple polish.

Paca sucks in an indignant breath. “Purple is my color,” our psychotic girlfriend says in a very angry tone…because her priorities are such a pain in the ass.

“She wonders why I’m so pissed all the time,” I say on a frustrated groan as I lay my head over on my arms. “I don’t know if I can watch this one if she’s going to be this reckless the whole time.”

My knees bounce as I listen to the first crackle of power, refusing to look. I really wish I knew what fucking bug crawled up her ass to make her think we deserve this torture.

Chapter 8


This is the worst fucking day we’ve had in Hell…at least in this lifetime.

Paca’s really pissed about the absurd volume of roses that Lilith gets showered with…from what seems like over half the audience.

The air heats, and Paca’s hands come up to her throat, as an airy, dark mist consumes the space around them.

“What the actual fuck is that?” I snap.

“I don’t know. I’m not watching this one,” Jude growls.

I glance over to see him literally ducking his head, keeping his eyes closed, as he radiates nervous tension.

If he thinks it’s bad for him, he should feel what it’s like when you fucking love the damn reckless, vengeful girl who hasn’t even told us our crimes yet.

Everyone knows we’re being punished.

We simply don’t know why.

My eyes flick back over to Paca as she drops to her knees, mouth wide as her eyes bulge, and she claws at her neck like she can’t breathe. I had no idea Lilith had this weapon in her arsenal. Paca went in unprepared, because no one wants to talk about the power of the Royals. Not even Lamar would prepare us as much as we needed to be prepared.

“Envy is a consuming poison to the human heart. Concentrated in Hell, where Lilith is strongest, it’s a true, toxic poison,” Lamar states from behind us.

“That would have been useful information before the battle,” Ezekiel snaps, glaring back at Lamar.

“I instructed him to not give you any deep counsel,” Lucifer says, as he shushes the skull like it’s talking to him.

I don’t know what’s up with him today. He’s even crazier than usual.

“When his children fight, he…loses a lot of balance,” Lamar says when he sees me staring at the fallen angel with a black soul.

He swallows thickly when the Devil cuts his solid black eyes toward us and grins in the creepiest possible way.

I cut my own gaze away, shivering as the creeped-out chill slithers up my spine.

Just as I return my attention to Paca, even though it’s painful to do, there’s a powerful explosion, and flames block the view below.

“What’s going on? What’d I miss?” I gripe, leaning forward as much as I’m allowed.

Fucking Devil. Why is not surprising that he loves our torture?

He even laughs a little when he sees me struggling to get closer to the edge, trying to see through the flames.

“Paca’s not going to be able to take Lilith down so easily,” Lucifer says around a cackle. “She’ll be humbled this time for sure—”

The flames clear all at once, and Paca is standing over Lilith with a smile as she wrings out her hand. Lilith is unconscious on the ground, face bloodied like she’s been physically pummeled.

Lucifer’s smile falls as he stops speaking, and his eyes go flat as his lips thin.

“She’s been holding back in her sessions with Rafael, then. How is she powering up this quickly?” he growls, glaring over at us as though we’re also keeping secrets from him.

My eyes move back to Paca, mostly because I can’t help myself. The smug look in her eyes as she stares up at us is enough to make my own jaw grind.

Is this our punishment for doubting her?

“I bet you wish you’d bought me roses now!” she calls up.

“I’m going to fucking strangle her,” Jude snaps, still not looking, as he stays slumped over with his head buried in his arms.

Paca kicks a foot up on Lilith’s chest and raises two fists in the air, sending the stunned crowd into a steady roar of applause. It’s unsurprising to see Hell’s favor is fickle for its champions.

“Apocalypse! Apocalypse! Apocalypse!” the bloodthirsty, savage crowd chants.

“She’s not wrong,” Kai states flatly, drawing my attention as he turns to look back at Lamar. “Can you open a portal and dump roses out there on our behalf?”

Lamar gives us a dead look. “You seem to misunderstand how my powers work.”

“I don’t understand your powers at all,” Ezekiel points out. “Can you do it or not?”

Lamar sighs heavily. “No. I purchased those roses and preloaded them for this event to cheer on my man like a good boyfriend does,” he tells us primly, throwing that dig in there. “It’s common courtesy to bring your champion roses, no matter what era,” he drones on.

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