"For eons, a structure has remained in place. A clear distinction between the powers that govern, the powers that rule and the Power that Was, Is and Will always be. An authority that is totalitarian, supreme and sovereign. My fate was not meant to be chosen nor my destiny a path that I selfishly carved. I never wanted this. And for a long time, resentment was my penance."
"But then, I found a purpose in existence. A purpose I have selfishly held onto for billions of years. A purpose to rebel against the shackles binding my being to a premise with no concrete evidence or inference. This time I did not raise up arms for a direct confrontation because the result was already apparent. 'He' is The One True Being for a reason. Power is something which he does not lack and a stalemate was the one thing I could hope for."
"So I chose a different method. One born from his selfless gift to mankind. I could not choose my purpose but I could choose how I went about the purpose thrust upon me. To preside over the infinite realms of the damned. Hell to mortals, home to demons and those unwanted. They expected an iron hand. A king who had submerged himself into his role as the god of the accursed and nefarious beings exempt from the Light!"
"But…I went on a different path. One of an overseer. Barely there. Content to watch the Princes fight for power like ravenous creatures. Content to watch as Three of you, took it upon yourself to rule instead of answer. Content to watch as more and more of those lower ranked grew cocky, forgetting who each one of you is subject to. And now…that will end. You have committed one terrible deed. I was enjoying my time and you in your infinite stupidity decided that no…I can't have some bloody fun. It's not anything unexpected really. Infact…this was long overdue. And so unto thee believing thyselves safe from my power…The Devil pays back all favours owed, a thousandfold."
Johnson Space Center ( Houston, Texas) (A Few Hours Ago)
"What is so urgent, you had to wake me up at 2 fucking A.M?"
A grouchy middle-aged man dressed in a clean cut tuxedo said barging into the surveillance and control hub followed closely by a P.A carrying a steaming cup of coffee. The bodyguards that had been part of his retinue, took up position outside the room looking mean as fuck.
"Aah sorry sir…"
A meek looking woman started only to be rudely interrupted by the Deputy Director of NASA.
"Save it, Walkins. Someone tell me what the fuck is going on. Now!"
"Photometric images from Vista 002 has just revealed to us some shocking news, sir."
One of the tech guys answered while pulling up images from an interplanetary space probe deep in the Kuiper belt.
"Vista 002 huh, that is the probe resulting in our contract with Lexcorp. It's supposed to be the best of the best."
The Deputy Director commented, curiously looking at the screen.
The feed showed asteroids dominating that part of the solar system, along with a bigger chunk of rock that was relatively spherical when compared to the rest of the things floating about in space. Then, a second later…the whole thing blew apart. Chunks of the dwarf planet exploded out in a cinematic fashion before something destabilized the flight trajectory of the probe and it lost the signal.
"Approximately 5 hours ago, Pluto exploded, sir."
Sooo…I can be absentminded sometimes. I had just spent more than half an hour walking around the city before facepalming at my stupidity. I could simply use my energy sense, coupled with flight, invisible of course to locate magical signatures. Madame Xanadu was supposedly very strong. There was no way I couldn't feel that pulse of power if she didn't deliberately cloak her magical power. And I think doing so would be bad for business.
I used my new invisibility to conceal myself as I flew above the city. A few laps around notable locations such as the old French Quarter and I picked up on something. I flew down and landed on an alley. A flying Superhero's best friend. Alleys are awesome, except when they're Gotham Alleys, then they turn... dangerous is putting it lightly. I shook my head and rounded up on the corner, dispelling the invisibility around my body.
Now that I was on the ground...my energy sense was bombarded by the buzzing energy of the city. New Orleans was mystically active in proportions that were shocking. Los Angeles didn't feel like this.
"Mmmh, might be multiple leylines going through the city."
I mused. Which would also be highly likely given that Madame Xanadu had taken up residence in this particular city.
The crowds in the streets were filled with colorful performers and tasty looking street food. I had to remind myself that I had a task I needed to do before I could get distracted. It didn't take long to find Madame Xanadu's fortune telling shop. Given the fact that her name was plastered above the entrance...she wasn't trying too hard to hide either.
I hesitated for only a second before pushing open the door. The bell placed above the door announced my presence as I walked through the building. Instantly, I was assaulted by a myriad of different scents through my energy sense. Something that disoriented me enough that I staggered in place, grabbing unto a chair in the empty room. My air sense spread out to source for who might have been the cause only to come up empty.
"Tsk...you should shut off your magical senses. Madame Xanadu is a regular host for many mystical practitioners and beings. What you are sensing is their different mystical signatures."
I did as the female voice said and shut off energy sense. The strain ended abruptly, leaving behind echos that were easing up by the second. I rubbed my forehead as a headache started building up though.
"What can Madame Xanadu do for you, young man."
The female voice from earlier stated again and I felt like slapping myself for my rudeness.
"Oh I apologize. I'm..."
I replied, looking up, only to be met by a shockingly beautiful woman with olive skin and a glow in her green eyes. She was dressed in a colorful red and black dress, her forehead adorned with three light green diamonds. The one in the middle bigger than the ones on the sides. And lastly she had on a choker with a crest that showed the sun and a crescent moon. What grabbed my attention more than anything else...was what I was feeling through my spirit attunement. He soul was strong. Like really strong. This showed that Nimue was very old. Which wasn't that surprising given that she was there during Merlin's time.
"I might have to start charging you extra for staring."
Madame Xanadu teased, reminding me I'd been silent for close to a minute now. But damn, I could watch her for hours and not get tired. Seriously, is it a rule that any relevant character had to be absurdly beautiful. First Wonder Woman, Maze, Canary and now her. Granted, I might have a thing for older women so...it could be bias. Her voice was also heavily accented and sort of throaty.
"I'm Aden. Aden Strong."
I regained control of myself and said steadily, reaching out with my hand to shake hers. She smiled and reciprocated. Her palm was callused and warm, buzzing with energy. I raised up my eyebrows as the budding headache seemed to disappear upon the touch.
I told her pulling my hand back.
She waved me off.
"Think nothing of it. Now, what can Madame Xanadu do for you? I do fortune telling but something tells me that's not what you're here for."
"Yeah, fortune telling is not really my thing. I believe in going about life with as little spoilers as possible. It's more exciting that way."
Liar, I said to myself even as I answered. The reason I didn't want her to read my future however was because of what Lucifer had told me. Luci, the second strongest being in the universe had stated himself that he could not foresee my future. It stands to reason that Xanadu despite her undeniable skills in fortune telling, would similarly not see anything. That might label me as a person of interest and with her admittance that she dealt with multiple mystical practitioners...I did not want that info to go public or in the wrong hands. Being unique more often than not brings trouble.
Nimue hummed skeptically, reaching into her lap and placing a deck of tarot cards on the table between us.
"If it's not fortune telling you're after, then what can I do for you?"
I reached into my pocket and secretly accessed the hammerspace. Pulling out my hand, I showed a silver ring to Madame Xanadu.
"I was wondering if there was a way you could connect me to an enchanter of some sort. Someone who can get rid of all influences in this artifact and bind it to me and me alone."
Madame Xanadu narrowed her eyes and tried to reach out for it, only for me to pull back my hand. She frowned but her expression quickly turned into a smile once I placed a roll of bills on the table.
"A bit different from the services I offer but manageable. Follow me."
Nimue said while getting up and walking deeper into the shop. My eyes trailed downwards for a split second before they came back up, enough to enjoy the view and not seem like a perv. I really need to get a girlfriend. I pushed past the beads covering the entrance to the next room and found myself standing before a black door carved with the same symbol of a crescent and a bright sun. The walls of the room were dominated with different cases showing dozens of weapons, artifacts and paintings. There was a huge table on the left with a cauldron and different brewing items like beakers. Which was the only cliche' part of the room.
Nimue held out her hand and I deposited the money on her palm, which she reached inside her cleavage and hid. I tried not to stare and focused on the door before us.
"This will take you where you need to go."
"And who am I going to meet?"
I questioned only for her to smile.
"I thought you don't like spoilers?"
I chuckled and opened the door. If shit goes down...I got portals.