1 To Be Late is Human

They say wine is the root of all evil but to Ravi West, it was the beginning of wisdom.

Even when he had waited inside the silver conch for one hundred years just for a chance to kill the old, evil sea monster, he had not been this patient. Excitement had not run through his veins the way they did now, it was like cocaine to an addict. Pure rupture.

Ravi West held his breath, his hands trembling slightly as he twisted the lid off the wine jar, releasing the sweet fragrance of fermented grains.

He carefully poured the milky-white liquid into a small crystal bowl and raised the bowl to his lips, the sweet tangy notes dancing on his taste buds.

Ravi smacked his lips, shuddering slightly. This is it, this was the poisoned rice wine that his imperial brother in the Zhou dynasty World had served him, the fool.

He had just drank one sip before the maid had rushed in and screamed that the wine was poisoned.

It had taken everything in Ravi to stop drinking and drop the cup of poisoned wine but the taste had lingered in his mind for hundreds of years.

So fucking delicious. Before five seconds, Ravi had finished the entire bowl and tipped the jar for the second time, and filled his bowl.

The morning sun was warm but the ground was still wet, the cold soil lay beneath pale skin. Ravi was wearing loose blue shorts as he sat cross-legged in a small corner of his farm, drinking the wine that he had buried in the ground. He was not sure the reason that he buried it, he was more used to burying things in the ground. Money, jewelry, Dry rations, maps, bodies. He was an expert burier if that is a word.

Well, he was an expert in a lot of things.

So fucking good! He should have made more but he had one jar. He had just one precious jar. His mind was saying no but his body was more honest, Ravi pulled his bowl close, about to pour the third bowl when his phone rang.

Ravi rolled his eyes at the Hello Kitty ringtone, anytime he changed it to a ringtone that would not make him want to commit a crime anytime he heard it, somehow, Lisa would manage to change it back to this nonsense. He did not know what gave her the morale to keep on challenging him.

He picked up the call but he did not speak.

"Ravi! Good morning! You promised the basket of strawberries from your farm. I would not let you say that you have forgotten this time."

"I have heard."

"Oh! And don't forget to come on time you know the new captain would …

Ravi switched off the call, he had forgotten. He had actually forgotten about work. He checked the time on his phone, 7:04. If he hurries up, he might just make it.

He stood up hurriedly, the wine made him feel a little dizzy and he stumbled. It was really good wine. He looked back at the jar and raised his hand. The brown jar sank into the ground and the loose soil covered it up.

There was actually no reason to do this, where he lived was in Harlan, the most deserted district in Davenport, it was a place that even Crows did not come to defecate. Nobody was going to pass by a house in Harlan and think, let us rob this place.

When Ravi had come to this world four years old, this was the cheapest place he could afford. There like places like Harlan all over the country, abandoned districts where nests had popped up, and even though the superheroes had already cleared the monsters in the nest, the lingering terror in the heart of the citizens made them avoid such places like the plague. In fact, the fear was so bad that it was considered bad luck to touch or eat anything from places like Harlan.

Of course, it was just good luck for the Ravi who did not have a place to call home. For just five thousand dollars, he had purchased one of the largest houses in Harlan. During his five hundred years as a Sentinel, Riva had never owned such a large place before, the two-story building came with an orchard, a large farm, and a workshop. He did not have any neighbors, just the wraiths, the moles, and the occasional leviathans that he saw every six months.

Killing them was the only action that Ravi allowed himself, it was also the reason that he did not destroy the source core of the nest, he needed some exercise after all.

7:10. Damn! Ravi rushed into the bathroom, switching on the shower as the cold water rolled down his body. Of course, living in such a place like Harlan had its disadvantages. He had not had electricity for more than a week and the electricity company who had promised to send a guy over more than ten times had not kept their word. He gritted his teeth, wishing he could just do it himself.

Drying his body, Ravi disappeared from the bathroom into his bedroom and opened his wardrobe, searching for the second pair of uniforms that he had washed yesterday. The blue uniform snagged to his body in no time and Ravi pulled open the second drawer for his hair tie when he recalled that he had cut his hair. It was a good thing, he hated the way his long black hair made his delicate face look even more delicate. It was also the reason that he let the stubble on his chin grow.

7:18. Fuck! Fuck! His workplace had rules, if you were late three consecutive times, there would be a 100-dollar withdrawal from your salary. His salary was a mere 1200 dollars a month, he already had 200 dollars deducted, any more and he might just explode.

He put on his shoes and packed his torchlight and power bank in a small bag before he hurriedly left the house. The streets were silent. If one had to walk for twenty minutes, there would be no single soul living next to Ravi but Ravi did not have time to walk.

He walked into one of the nearest alleys, and the scent of rotten wood and stale food floated into his nose, he always forgot that he needed to destroy this restaurant. He moved to another side of the alley, an abandoned clothing store.

He raised his hand and the air around him rippled, Ravi's hazel eyes lacked the concentration that they had when he did this for the first time, his eyes were almost indifferent as he shattered himself, his atomic structure deconstructing into nothing. The alley momentarily plunged into an eerie stillness. Bearing no evidence of his existence.

Then, in an instant, in an alleyway near the central park of Davenport city, the air seemed to implode, collapsing upon an unseen singularity. A burst of light erupted as Ravi's atomic essence reconstructed, a tall, thin man appearing in the alleyway.

He did not stay long as he made his way through a corner and appeared in the park.


His workplace was still a fifteen-minute walk from Central Park but if he walked very fast, he could probably make it.

He yawned and smacked his lips, he would rather be at home, sitting on the ground and drinking his delicious wine.

Thump! Crash!

"Old hag, watch where you are going." The voice was the arrogant voice of a young man in his early twenties. His voice was accompanied by the sound of a motorcycle zooming away.

Ravi continued to move forward, with no single hint of curiosity in his eyes.

"Officer! Officer! Please help me."

Ravi looked down to see a woman in her late sixties, she was slumped on the ground, and packaged bed sheets were scattered on the ground. She looked up at Ravi, eyes filled with hope. His brows twitched.

"No, thank you. Ask another person." Ravi said, a heavy bite in his words.

Murmurs. The people around murmured in shock at his words but none of them made any move to help the woman out. Typical.

"Ah! Grandma, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, isn't it too early for this kind of bad luck." A clear voice sounded from the crowd, it was like that of a subwoofer, gently reverberating in his ear.

A man walked out of the crowd, a smile on his face. He was tall, over six feet. He had a chiseled jawline, complemented by a straight nose and well-defined cheekbones. His golden locks cascaded in waves and his ocean-blue eyes had a warmth to them.

His looks seemed to bring murmurs that were even louder than earlier. He bent down to help the old woman pack her bedsheets before helping her up with a smile. His smile made his features even more handsome.

Ravi gave him a one over, he looked like the poster boy of the Hero Association of Avalon. He would fit right in. Ravi gave him another look from top to bottom, although a poster boy of the Hero Association could definitely afford good jeans, the blue jeans that the man was wearing had holes in them.

How unsightly. Ravi looked away.


Fuck! He was late.

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