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

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

“She broke through a piece of my seal again,” he growls.

His eyes close, and the flames quickly cut off, hitting just under the center of the stands, as though there’s a glass wall blocking them from raising that high again.

Cain is still visible, though he admittedly looks worried now.

The shadow melts away, and through the flames, we see a grinning Paca still on her hands and knees, eyes a piercing red as she lifts her head and stares over at her brother.

Cain stumbles back a step, almost tripping. With a simple wink, power explodes from her, and the flames rush into his mouth the second he tries to gasp.

It occurs to me that she’s been fighting Rafael in purgatory. We’re in Hell.

The difference is daylight and dark.

We wanted a way to make her stronger. I had no idea this was her way of doing the same thing, simply because of how reckless it was from the beginning.

“This isn’t punishment,” Ezekiel says quietly to me. “Not telling us her plan was punishment, but that’s possibly for never believing in her,” he guesses.

“She took the full brunt of his power,” Pride is saying from behind us. “That alone will weaken her for us. Stop fretting. You’re embarrassing me.”

Discord between the twins is a positive sign.

For the first time during this nightmarish ordeal, I watch with interest instead of dread.

Cain’s eyes blaze over as the flames finish coursing into his body, and he drops to the ground as all the fire subsides, the lava drops to the pit, and the ground begins to seal back up.

Smoke smolders from his body as he sizzles, and only the slightest groan from him signals he’s still alive at all as he goes limp.

Paca, through a billowing waft of smoke, stands, staggering just barely like she’s exerted herself, and lifts one fist into the air.

The crowd bounces to its feet, and in unison, they all roar in celebration. They chant her name with twice the enthusiasm, hands raised high.

A single drop of blood drips from her mouth, the only sign she’s taken damage. It’s enough to make the dread manifest inside me once again.

“Take her down while she’s wounded, before she recovers and wins this entire damn thing!” Lucifer snaps.

The twins smirk like that single drop of black blood has inspired their belief in their skills once again, their hesitance gone.

I only briefly glimpse the look of confidence before they blink out.

Manella is watching with his own smirk, as Lucifer stands and paces off to the side, cursing the skull, ranting at it like this is all its fault. I understand why people think Lucifer was being influenced now. He seems to be under the control of someone when he loses his shit.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that skull has power over him. However, I do know better, and now I see the sort of effect Paca truly has on his balance.

He’s that desperate to keep her in Hell and not risk losing her to a battle someone else was supposed to fight. His selfish motives make her his favorite. That’s probably the real reason she didn’t bother telling him her plan before she executed it five centuries ago.

She probably knew he’d never allow it, and she wisely assumed he’d find a way to interfere.

As the twins emerge below, I take a steadying breath, put my elbows on my knees, and study Paca as she hides the pain and wipes the blood away with the back of her hand.

She grins over at them, but they just smirk back at her.

Two against one.

Two of the strongest.

Pride and Greed.

She’s wounded.

She’s visibly fatigued.

And they’ve got the Devil on their side.

“She should get to have us by her side for this one,” Jude says as though he’s trying to reason with Lucifer.

“No! No!” Lucifer snaps as he slams the skull into the ground, shattering it as he stomps on the pieces. “No! No! No!”

He then starts slapping the side of his own head, still pacing, as his eyes go wild. He clutches the edge of the balcony we’re in, and he shouts down toward the twins, as roses rain down on them and Cain gets dragged out.

“Stop hesitating! Put her in her place! Show her what a shadow of her former self she truly is!” he barks like he’s maddened.

“This is going to be ugly,” I state quietly to no one, while I steel myself for what’s to come, dreading it with everything in me.

An ominous cloud rolls overhead as though we needed any more foreboding warnings.

Chapter 10


I didn’t understand what it meant to fall in love with The Apocalypse until this moment.

The four of us were probably put through a lot of the worst torture in our former lives, and we’d likely been numbed to the feelings that accompany helplessness.

In this life, however, being helpless is new and maddening.

“One hit! One hit! One hit!” the crowd chants.

The roses for the twins are even less than the amount thrown for Hera, and they’re clearly irked by that, since they’re paying more attention to the bouquet count than The Apocalypse, who is rolling her shoulders back like she’s preparing herself to take another hit and get back up.

“Don’t take the hit this time!” I shout like it’ll do any good.

“Don’t interfere with my training!” she calls back, waving at us with a toothy smile she has no idea is bloodied black.

I grimace, and Jude shudders out a breath as he shuts his eyes and massages his temples.

He’s unsurprisingly unhinged by all this. Out of the four of us, Jude is the one who hates feeling helpless the most. It puts him at odds with her the most too.

Paca’s already scandalous, purple battle dress has been ripped up even higher on her sides than it already was. Her face is smudged with ash and scorched soil. Her blonde hair is filthy from the same.

The dress has rips and tears, showing off far more of her body than it already did, and it’s driving me insane that our shameless girlfriend doesn’t realize how much her power and appeal is driving the devious males in these stands mad with lust.

I want to kill every leering son of a bitch with my bare hands right now. If my power wasn’t stifled by the motherfucking Devil, I’d have them at war with each other.

Honestly, I’ve been trying to do it for a while. I’d like them all to be recycled by this point.

Greed distracts me from my own thoughts as he lifts his hand above his head, the tail of his long coat whipping in the wind, and a…wand appears.

“Are you fucking kidding me with this?” Gage asks as he stares dubiously at the hell-spawn, who is literally waving a wand in the air.

“Fun fact: He’s obsessed with Lord Voldemort. He swapped his weapon for a wand a while back. Don’t let it fool you. He really channels a lot of power through it,” Lamar chirps.

How is anything fun about that fact?

Paca quirks an eyebrow. “Let me guess…you two share a broom ride too,” she tells Pride, who narrows his eyes.

A medieval flail with a large set of spikes protruding from the dangling metal ball appears in his hand. It glistens black, and smoke sizzles out of it as he swings it once.

As if they think in time with each other, Pride slams the flail against the ground, just as Greed jerks his wand in three quick waves toward Paca.

The smug look in her eyes vanishes when a black ooze shoots from the ground from the crack the powerful flail attack made. And she cries out as red lightning pours from the sky, hitting her from all different angles.

She drops to the ground, struggling to get up, as the ooze starts burning against her skin, sizzling and creating visible wounds.

“Stop this!” Kai shouts at Lucifer, who laughs uncontrollably.

“See, daughter? You can’t even handle your brothers after some petty battles have tired you out!” he shouts down to her, as Paca writhes on the ground, her screams tearing through the air with more strength than they have all day.

The lightning ceases and a red fog billows through. Her screams intensify as flames shoot out of her.

The flames get snuffed out when Pride spins and slams the flail down once more, the ooze overpowering them.

It’s the first time I’ve been certain this is too much, and it’s because she’s trying and failing this time, while they mercilessly team up against her.

I struggle with the confines of my chair, bolted to my seat by an unseen power only the Devil could wield so effectively against me in a moment like this.

A growl of frustration is torn from me when pain shoots through my body, disabling me from struggling more.

We all freeze in our seats as though we’ve been paralyzed, and Lucifer snarls over at us, showing the real menace he’s hidden well until now.

“My patience is frayed with all of you. Watch. Watch her pain. Watch her suffering. See for yourselves what a lost quest this would be for her, and realize what she has to do. What you all have to do. You weren’t designed for Jahl. You were designed to eradicate human life. Deviating from your design is nothing more than a fool’s errand.”

“Even if she destroys the world, she destroys herself!” Gage snaps. “Her trigger is tied to her life.”

“She has a secondary, less powerful, but still massively destructive trigger. She can use it to level the world, as I’ve already stated. I never intended to lose my child. The four of you can pick up the slack, leaving behind as few souls as possible, before Jahl escapes his weakening cage. My plan will work, and she doesn’t have to die.”

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