Chapter 2:

0.2. The Alternative

We Got 'Shipped' by the Goddess


The time was now 6 pm. I stayed back a little longer than your typical office hours. Well, it's not like I get paid OT for this.

I shut off my computer, and then posted a yellow sticky on the cubicle wall to remind me what I need to delegate tomorrow.

Kouhai already went, and so did most of my other colleagues. The place was rather empty.

I pushed the large pile of paper to the side and picked up my bag. I made my way out of the office.

Or was about to when I heard the shutter of the door open.

"Hold it, Avner."

"What?"

I turned to her.

"Did I say you could leave before completing your work?"

"What?"

"I never said you could leave.."

"What?"

What kind of angel are you?

"Just.. come into my office. I have a few things I need to discuss with you.."

"No thank you."

She's absolutely going to kill me. I already know it.

I scampered towards the exit..

{WARNING: YOU HAVE STEPPED ON A MINE}

{YOU HAVE STEPPED ON A MINE}

Ah.. she's going to kill me either way. Who in the world did she borrow a 'mine' from?

Time stopped, the world became blanched in absolute grey. Sounds disappeared from the surroundings, I was thrown out of my body.

I leaned against the frozen statue of myself as I supported my astral body.

"Pu'er.."

"Ha! You've fallen into my trap! If only you listened then you wouldn't have tripped it."

She cackled like some witty card fighter in kids shows you see on television all the time.

Sheesh, grow up already would you?

Ahem, to elaborate, I've entered what is known as a 'fallout', or 'astral bubble' because I tripped a 'mine' she set down. Mine as in: explosive, sea mine, go kaboom.

Time froze for everyone except the angel or demon that are directly involved. In this case, me and Pu'er.

I'm a demon race, Pu'er's an angel race.

We were currently in our 'astral body', our real body is frozen as a statue in the real world, just like everyone else's.

I reached into my pocket and crushed a depository jewel. A simple longsword appeared in my hands.

She too contrived a mythril halberd from a gem and pointed the tip at me.

Remember how I said before that she's going to kill me regardless of what I do?

"Let's fight."

This is what I meant.

"284."

"S-shut up! I'll win this time!"

She swung her halberd down. I parried with my sword, ducked under, and extended my leg.

She tripped and fell face first on the ground.

"285."

Get rekt.

===

I'm sure you have a lot of questions about what a demon is exactly so let me summarize.

There are two kinds of classifications to entities in the 'alternative'. Angels and demons.

Both are rare existances that appear in around 1 in every 1000 people– by my estimation at.

You can tell that someone is an angel or demon by the crown on their head. It's invisible to those not part of the 'alternative', but for those that are, it's what they use to differentiate the two races. A crown is something like a small floating crystal.

Avner Franc. 25 years of age. Male.

In the mortal realm, I'm a good-for-nothing admin clerk working for Laborline Co. Ltd.

It's actually a manufactoring-cum-pharmaceutical company which focuses on supplying hospitals with equipment and drugs for postnatal care.

Complexity aside, I'm merely an admin staff who does the data tabulation, simple analytics and such. Pu'er Julis is my superior. In charge of the office, I call her my second boss.

She's actually the secretary for the Head of Data Management, my first boss, Mister Winston. So you could say she hired us to assist her in her job as a secretary.

Done with my background as a human, let's move on to my other identity.

In the 'alternative', I'm a demon in his 233th life.

Class operative: Cruiser.

Class operatives are based on military ships. Cruisers, corvettes, frigates, destroyers, craft carriers, submarines and etcetera. Each class comes with their own unique abilities which they can utilize for survival sake.

The mine I stepped on? It's the ability of a submarine. Some friend of Pu'er's must have lent her a (sea) mine to use just so I would be forced into a 'fallout'.

If this sounds like gibberish to you, that's alright. You simply need to know that I'm some special existence in this 'normal' world. Call it a secret identity, whatever.

As part of this world called the 'alternative', I'm involved in a demon-angel conflict which many dub as the angel-demon war.

When an angel and demon comes into contact with one another, they are able to enter a subspace where time stops entirely. And in that subspace, they will duke it out until either the initiator of the subspace decides to run away, or the victim kills the initiator of the subspace.

This basic concept of angels and demons trying to kill each other is part of everyday life for people who are part of the 'alternative'. Seems simple enough.. until you realize you have weapons, tools, potions, system abilities, territorial conflict, missions, and new realm you can visit.

Angels and demons, collectively, fight to see who reigns on top. It's a grand-multi-generational war that has lasted since the dawn of time. This is my 233rd life; I wasn't sure about Pu'er's. I feel like asking her for this number is as inappropriate as asking a girl about their age (I think).

Seriously, I don't understand girls.

If I die as a demon, as in, being killed by an angel (Pu'er), I lose all my memories.

Thus why I don't remember anything prior to my current life. The 'grand designer' of this 'alternative' must have come up with this 'rule' on purpose. Probably to prevent some gnarly conflicts between the different wives I've had in my different lives.

Just think about it.. if you could remember everything, you'll come to a realization that you've mated with more than a hundred women..

Hold on. Doesn't that mean I had just done 'it' with 100 different..

Holy moly?! How many kids did I contribute to this world?

That's even worse than your typical harem-trope!

Clink. Clank.

Lilac sparks flew each time the blades came into contact. She swung down, I leaned to the side.

She shifted her grip, changing the vertical mementumn horizontally. My back slammed against the wall, I was forced to take it with a parry.

She huffed, the halberd made a loop and a frighteningly fast pierce.

I ducked and grabbed the shaft, pulling it towards me.

"Ah?!"

She lost balance and fell forward.

I cushioned her fall.. her soft ample chest pressed against me..

"187."

Rekt.

She pushed me away in a fluster.

"Can't wait to get that 'wish'. Almost 200 now."

"I-It won't happen!"

She huffed.

I raised my hands like I was arrested.

"What if it does?"

"Mu.."

She looked away, her face bright red. I grinned.

"An angel doesn't break their promise.." she wrung those words out after much difficulty.

Yeah, as if I'd believe that.

It's probably just some made-up sophism for your own self narrative!

I met Pu'er about a year ago, when I first arrived at this office. Back then, she was in need of more helpers because of the increased workload, that's when I came in. I still remember how her eyes rounded like saucers when her boss introduced me to her.

Her boss (my man Mister Winston) and I were good pals back in college. That means though Pu'er is my superior, I actually had some level of authority in this office. Pu'er couldn't fire me even if she wanted to. Suck on that!

As a bonus, the reason why my first boss chose me is because I'm a competent staff member who takes my work seriously. He practically begged me to quit my previous job (not). From the last assessment, I alone contributed to resolving around 30% of all paperwork in the entire office.

It's a secret that I actually like doing admin work. Makes me wonder if I'm senile?

And because she can't kick me out, she decided to take things into her own hands–

She tried to kill me.

A demon intruding an angel's territory is never a good thing.

The first time she 'attempted' to kill me, I actually thought I was going to die.

Yet, who would've thought that..

1. She's a lone ranger, and does not have a fleet of other angels working with her.

2. She's really bad at fighting. Or at least, way weaker than me.

I get that we're supposed to be enemies, but not all angel-demon interrelations end up hostile, you know? I'm a demon advocating for peace!

I granted her clemency (as in, I spared her life).

One.. twice.. trice…

I began calling her the cockroach of the office because she tries to kill me EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Coaxing, pranking, scolding.. nothing worked.

It was so annoying, things came to a point where I had resolved myself to threaten her despite my pacifist nature, saying that if she tries to cause another 'fallout', I'll KILL her. I even made her cry, boo-hoo. It's a sight that still haunts me till this day.

Take it as a lesson from me bois, don't make a girl cry.

Nevertheless, her title of cockroach didn't fail to amaze me. She initiated a fallout the very next day! She even came up with a shameless proposal!

"If you spare me 200 times, I'll grant you one wish to let you ask me to do anything you want!"

Two hundred times may sound like a lot, but if you take her abilities into account, beating this angel to a pulp a thousand times is actually a lot easier than taking on a UAB (Unidentified Astral Body, a kaiju in the 'alternative', basically). All you need is some time and patients.

"So all I need to do is make you lose 200 times, then I can wish for you to stop?"

"Except that."

And so she shamelessly rules an exception.

Seriously, what's inside the grey matter of this girl?

I've already broken the 200 mark, so I already have one wish.

I had thought about a few ideas on how to spend that 'wish', like telling her to take the initiative to take my first boss out for dinner or tell her to bring my first boss to a love hotel. Those kinds of things.. but I thought love should remain sincere and pure so I decided against it– for now.

"So are you done? I want to go back home and eat," I mumbled.

"Fine.. no. I still need to talk with you about something. It's work related. Can you stay back just for a few minutes? Please?"

"Can't you tell me what I need to know here?"

"No. It's specific stuff I need your help on."

Specific huh? I heaved a sigh.

"Fine."

"Thank you."

She bowed.The next moment the two of us returned to our real bodies. Weapons disappeared, time resumed.

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