Home > One Apocalypse (The Dark Side #4)(8)

One Apocalypse (The Dark Side #4)(8)
Author: Kristy Cunning

Rafael stays quiet for a moment, and then an amulet appears in my lap.

“Be sure you’re all together if it’s used. Once ejected, it’s fairly hard to return to the cage. It could take a few hours to reopen it. It’s an intentional design flaw,” he goes on. “Of course, if you beat it, I’ll simply open the cage and let you out. I’d advise against using the amulet unless it’s an emergency.”

Great. Even our backup plan is risky. Life used to be simpler when we had no clue who we were.

“Thanks,” I tell him as I stand, pocketing the amulet.

Just as we turn to leave, I hear Jude ask him, “What made you decide this is her responsibility?”

I glance over my shoulder to see Rafael unsurprised. “Because she’s The Apocalypse. We all knew she’d be too vain to allow someone else to end the world. I just had no idea the crazy lengths she’d go through to get out of doing it herself.”

“She did this to get stronger. Had to,” I argue.

He leans back, snorting out a laugh. “I’m sure she looks very strong to the four of you. You’re all shells of a past life. I’m not sure what Paca had in mind, but her execution is very much off the mark. I may struggle against her, but there was a time when I wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“Anyone ever tell you that you’re terrible for morale?” Kai asks him very seriously.

Rafael looks over all of us.

“On the off chance she did do something miraculous I’ve yet to see, you should get on discovering what it is. The clock is ticking, boys. A decision needs to be cemented. A plan needs to be drawn. And life as you know it needs to be savored. Same for everyone, even if they’re not stepping into that cage.”

He stands abruptly, adjusting his sleeves.

“At least you’ll have a chance to die for a purpose—”

“We’re not righteous enough to give two shits about that,” I remind him.

He flicks his gaze back up to mine.

“I envy the power the five of you possess. If I could save the world at the cost of my life, I’d do it freely. Nothing would make me happier. But I can’t. Unfortunately, that girl went and made it all much more complicated than it had to be. But it is what it is at this point. Tell her I’m ready for another match whenever she is. And she’d better fix my balance as she promised to do. The Apocalypse can’t be deceptive, or it screws with her neutral balance.”

With that tiresome lecture out of the way, he turns and leaves.

“A little gratitude and understanding shouldn’t be so much to expect from an angel,” Kai states as though it’s his duty to point it out.

“He talks in circles like he’s trying to be empowering and realistic at the same time. It comes out as a buzzkill self-righteous bunch of bullshit,” I say dismissively, moving away from the meeting area we can’t siphon from.

“What about tomorrow? How do we stop it?” Jude asks.

Again, when did I become the leader of this shit show? No thank you. I hate responsibility of that caliber.

“We don’t,” Ezekiel answers, not looking back as he walks faster.

“What?” Kai asks in disbelief.

“If we try, Paca will just make it that much harder on us. I don’t have time for the argument we’re about to have. Don’t forget her rule about not discussing this tonight. I promised Paca a foot massage, so I’m out,” he says before he disappears.

Even I stumble over my own feet at how casually he says that as though it’s not a big deal.

He disappears the second he’s out of the sacred area, and we all stand and blink.

“Did he really just ditch us to hurry back to massage her motherfucking feet?” Jude asks very quietly, sounding both horrified and shocked.

“Yes. Yes, he did,” I answer on autopilot.

That son of a bitch will be her favorite for-fucking-ever if he’s going to play this game that way. I’ll never have her to myself again.

“Where the hell are you going?” Jude asks me as I lift the navigation device, trying to figure out which part of Hell I need.

“To find some damn bath salts.”

“Will someone please say something that makes sense?” Kai asks.

“Why the actual fuck are you buying bath salts?” Jude asks almost at the same time.

I glance back, preparing my siphon, as I answer, “Because I don’t know how to give a massage.”

With that, I disappear, and go on the search for Lamar, since the navigation is pointless unless I know what Hell has to offer.

We really are her motherfucking harem, aren’t we? Unbelievable.

Chapter 7


“Quit brooding and acting like I’m going off to die,” Paca says in a bored tone. “Show me what good cheerleaders you can be.”

She disappears, and I snatch vacant air when I try to siphon out with her.

“Damn her for going off on her own,” I growl, cursing as I run a hand through my hair and pace back and forth.

Ezekiel and Gage are quiet, both of them sitting in our Royal Section seats. They look like they dread this with everything in them, yet they aren’t even trying to talk her out of it.

“Why the hell aren’t you two helping us?” Kai snaps.

“Because it’s pointless to try to change her mind,” Ezekiel states flatly, cutting his eyes toward me. “She’s been passive aggressive about all of this. That means someone has done something really big to piss her off.”

Why do all three of them stare at me?

“I’ve not done anything at all to piss her off,” I assure them.

We all swing our gazes to Kai, who narrows his eyes at us.

“I’ve given her orgasms. Usually that’s enough to make up for anything any of us have done wrong. I have no idea what she’s pissed about,” Kai growls, dropping to a chair.

Paca returns, a huge smile on her face and a bag of popcorn that starts immediately popping with spitfire cracks against the heat of hell. Her eyes widen.

“Look! Hell’s popping it for me! It’s—”

The bag catches fire, and the popcorn turns to ash almost immediately in the next instant, as she just stares in horror as the embers being whisked off by the soft wind.

We all give her a tired look.

She looks more concerned about the fucking popcorn than the torturous match she’s about to face.

“This really is Hell if it’ll do that to my helpless popcorn right when I need it the most!” Paca groans, whimpering as she tries to lift some of the ash pile. “Grow back,” she commands the ashes as though they’ll listen.

“Someone talk some fucking sense into her before I strangle her,” I state tightly, barely restraining myself.

If she didn’t have that slippery phantom form, we could easily overpower her, tie her to a bed somewhere, and keep her out of harm’s way.


Lamar appears with a tray in his hand and a red bowl of popcorn that isn’t ashy. Paca’s stuttered words cut out, as a new smile blooms across her face.

I don’t know what to do with her when she’s this unhinged and unfocused.

“Hell requires specialized products, Paca,” Lamar states on a sigh.

She snatches the bowl of popcorn, pats him on the head, and drops to Ezekiel’s lap as she starts eating it.

“So we fight down there?” she asks around a mouthful.

“Yes. The stands will float above you in a protected ring to keep from unintentionally being obliterated,” Lamar tells her.

There’s a big crowd. We’re isolated in this section, but you can hear the roars of excitement. It’s a rare treat to be entertained in Hell.

“It’s time,” Lamar tells her.

In the next instant, she zaps out of Ezekiel’s lap, the bowl of popcorn left mid-air in her wake. Ezekiel grunts as the bowl lands on his crotch and spills popcorn all over his lap.

I try to stand, only to realize I…can’t.

My eyes widen as I struggle to get out of my seat, feeling as though there’s a phantom force locking me in place.

“You boys must have really pissed her off if she’s punishing you like this.” Lucifer’s voice sends a chill up my spine, as he comes to take a seat on the most obnoxious throne.

My eyes widen again when I realize he’s shirtless, while wearing an open, cowhide robe that goes all the way to his ankles. His leather pants squeak as he takes a seat, playing with a human skull as he sits down, looking over the top of a pair of aviator sunglasses at us.

“What?” he asks as he rubs the skull’s head.

The other hell-spawn move into their seats around us, and Lilith grins as she leans forward, getting way too fucking close to my ear.

“After your girlfriend is put out of commission for a while, I’m going to enjoy having you four all to myself.”

“Sit,” Lucifer tells her.

She drops to a seat as though his command has buckled her into place. Now it makes sense why I’m stuck to this chair as though I’ve been superglued in place.

If not even one of the Royals can stand, I may as well give up my struggle.

Paca stands alone below, leaving the four of us helpless up here, as she waits on her first sibling to join in. The wasteland we’re in is set in the tip of Hell’s tail.

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