Chapter 40 (Everin)

For someone who aspired to be a god, King Valen was weak. He tried to evade Everin’s attacks, but Everin could tell that he was drained. The king summoned circular shields of energy to block the blasts of blue light Everin fired at him, but they were shattered into a million white shards that faded out of existence once they were struck by the blasts.

King Valen tried to move forward and retaliate with his two pale glowing swords. Everin grinned like a lunatic as the king approached. A spear of sapphire light materialized in his hand. The weapon was twice as tall as he was, but it weighed nothing at all. Everin crouched low and swung the spear forward, knocking the king’s feet out from underneath him. The monarch fell onto his back, and Everin leapt forward, stabbing downward with his shaft of blue energy.

King Valen let his swords disappear and produced a translucent bubble of light around him as he lay on the ground. Sparks flew where the tip of Everin’s spear made contact with the barrier. He applied the pressure even harder, leaning into the shaft of his weapon and pushing downward with all the force he could muster.

Inside the bubble, King Valen strained to maintain his shield. Everin could see the king’s face twisted in exertion. He roared as he pushed the spear downward even more forcefully. Suddenly, King Valen’s shield flickered out. He’d run out of happiness from the children on the playground and had none left to absorb. Everin, on the other hand, felt that he would never run out of energy. As the bubble vanished, Everin’s momentum carried the spear forward and it stabbed through King Valen’s heart.

He let the supernatural weapon vanish, and blood poured from the king’s chest. It was a matter of moments before the king of Allomoria was dead.

Everin examined the man’s body, feeling numb. He crouched down and gently pulled the crown off the king’s head. It was a thin gold band, not one of the clunky, jewel-encrusted things that monarchs of old would wear. Everin inspected the inside of the crown. There was a small engraving.

“Kennedy Valen,” it read.

Kennedy. Everin smiled grimly. How ironic that the man who aspired to replace the old gods carried the same name as one of the greatest of those gods. Even one as ambitious as King Valen couldn’t escape the past, Everin thought.

He turned and walked over to the large blue fire that was still burning. He waved his hand and the flames disappeared. The pile of blackened remains was barely recognizable as human. Everin stared at the body of McCarthy. He didn’t know what he’d expected to feel, but it wasn’t emptiness. Everin frowned. This had been what he’d wanted, yet he still wasn’t happy. In the back of his mind, he knew that he shouldn’t be surprised. Revenge wasn’t a cure for anything. But the seething hatred that still burned inside him overwhelmed that voice of reason. Everin wanted to hit something. He wanted to burn something. He wanted to tear apart the whole world until he found a way to fill the hole in his heart that McCarthy had created by killing his parents.

Everin let out a scream. A primal sound of frustration. He raised his palm to the air and blasted a beam of light into the sky. It punched through the dark clouds overhead. He pumped more and more sorrowful energy into the beam. He was sure that the light could be seen for miles. Good. He was making a statement.

Everin finally let the beam of energy fade away. He examined the crown in his hand one last time before setting in atop his head. He walked over to the door leading into the castle. It was still drenched in azure flames. Everin waved his hand and the fire vanished, revealing a charred black door.

He grabbed the doorknob. It glowed red with heat, but Everin channeled some of his own energy into his hand. The doorknob sizzled as it touched his skin, but he wasn’t burned. Everin opened the door and found a girl crouching behind it. Through the swirling thoughts and emotions in his head, he vaguely recognized her.

“Mao,” he said.

“I stuck around,” she said quietly. “I heard everything that happened.”

Everin raised a hand threateningly. “Then you should realize that you’re already dead.”

“Wait,” Mao raised her hands defensively. “I know you hated my master and what he did to you, but I can help you.”

“How?” Everin demanded.

She grinned. “I can teach you what McCarthy knew about the angels, and I understand you.”

“Nobody understands me,” Everin said. His voice was bitter.

“Okay, maybe not you specifically,” Mao said. “But I understand what it means to suffer and to make people suffer.”

Everin gave himself a moment to think. Finally, he said, “I’ll let you live for now. Take me to my new subjects. Then, show me McCarthy’s notes.”

Mao gave Everin a deep bow, eyeing the crown on his head.

“Yes, my king.”

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